Nkomo tells would-be candidates to cool it

Loughty Dube

ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo says people who have imposed themselves as 2005 parliamentary election candidates in constituencies throughout the country are wasting their time as the part

y has not yet opened nominations.


“There has not been any nomination call from the party for parliamentary candidates and people who are already doing so are wasting their time,” Nkomo told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.


“Until a time when (Zanu PF national commissar Elliot) Manyika makes an announcement to that effect, there are no nominations.”


Several Zanu PF officials from around the country have put their names forward as Zanu PF candidates ahead of the 2005 parliamentary poll.


Zanu PF leaders who have already declared themselves candidates or claim to have been nominated for next year’s general election include Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho, Walter Muzembi in Masvingo South, and retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi who has openly said he is the people’s choice in Masvingo North ahead of sitting MP Stan Mudenge.


Others are Philip Chiyangwa (Chinhoyi), Andrew Langa (Insiza), Obert Mpofu (Bubi) and Abednico Ncube (Gwanda South).


“As the national chairman of the party I am not aware that the process of nominating candidates has started but those who are doing so are exercising their constitutional rights but they will not be recognised by the party,” Nkomo said.


Senior Zanu PF officials have used coercion to cow constituency and grassroots leaders into backing their bids to stand as the party’s sole candidate.


Nkomo could not be drawn into revealing whether the party would hold primary elections ahead of the crucial 2005 parliamentary election or not.

“The decision on that will come from the national commissar when the time is ripe. The process has to be sanctioned by the party leadership, who will receive the nominations from the provincial leadership before vetting the candidates,” he said.


There has been commotion in the last few months with some Zanu PF members jostling to be endorsed by district and provincial leadership as candidates, a move party insiders say has led to serious divisions at grassroots levels.


“In one constituency the district leadership is split on who to announce as their choice with one group backing a junior party member while another group is leaning towards the more senior member,” said the party insider.


Zanu PF candidates who were defeated in the landmark 2000 elections are making frantic efforts to be nominated to stand again for the party while candidates who stood in urban areas are making the great trek to rural areas where they see brighter chances than in towns.


The Zanu PF leadership in Nkayi refused to endorse Sithembiso Nyoni as the candidate for the area after the governor and resident minister of Matabeleland North, Obert Mpofu, who was travelling with her, failed to sell her to the constituency.


Nyoni was attempting a parliamentary comeback through the rural areas after the MDC’s Thokozani Khuphe routed her in Makokoba in 2000.