SENIOR Zanu PF officials and the Nkayi district coordinating committee have barred Small to Medium-scale Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni from contesting the 2005 elect
ion on a Zanu PF ticket.
Nyoni has been campaigning in Nkayi to represent Zanu PF for a seat that currently belongs to the opposition MDC.
Sources say in November Nyoni wrote a letter to the now suspended Zanu PF chairman for Matabeleland North, Jacob Mudenda, pleading to be allowed to contest the Nkayi seat.
However, at a meeting held in Nkayi at the beginning of this month Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu charged that Nyoni could not contest in Nkayi since she was appointed a central committee member for Bulawayo, sources said.
The district coordinating committee with the concurrence of senior party officials in attendance ruled that they would not allow anyone from outside the province to contest the seat.
Other senior party leaders who attended the meeting included Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Botswana, Phelekezela Mphoko, and Zanu PF district chairpersons for Matabeleland North.
Sources who attended the meeting said Mpofu, after announcing that Nyoni will not stand in Nkayi, took a swipe at “people” from other areas who came to the province using money to buy voters and urged the locals to shun “commercial” votes.
When contacted to comment on the latest developments Nyoni said she was invited by the people of Nkayi to contest in the area and said they alone could stop her from contesting.
“I went to Nkayi because I was invited and it is up to the people to tell me whether they want me to contest or not and not just anyone,” Nyoni said.
Pressed to comment on statements made by her colleagues at the Nkayi meeting Nyoni said she does not discuss such issues in the media.
Nyoni, a former Makokoba MP, fled the constituency after the MDC’s Thokozani Khuphe routed her.
The latest developments could prove a big blow to Nyoni since President Mugabe this year hinted that MPs who lose their seats would not be considered for cabinet posts.
Meanwhile, violent clashes erupted in Bulawayo last Friday after a group of Zanu PF youths marched to the party’s offices to oust the provincial leadership but were blocked by a rival group aligned to the current executive.
A group of Zanu PF youths believed to be loyal to former Zipra supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa, marched towards the Zanu PF office with the aim of shutting down the Bulawayo provincial offices.
The youths, numbering about 40, wanted to evict the provincial executive members whom they accused of taking part in the clandestine Tsholotsho meeting.
However, the youths were repelled by another group allegedly belonging to the Jabulani Sibanda faction who had mobilised at the provincial offices well before the arrival of the invaders.