THE expulsion of Harare businessman Munyaradzi Kereke from Zanu PF has precipitated a new battle for the Bikita West constituency where MDC-T, Zanu PF and Lovemore Madhuku’s newly formed National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) party have all expressed interest in contesting.
Zanu PF disowned Kereke last week and fired him from the party for insubordination for contesting in the July 31 elections despite being told to withdraw and pave way for former workmate at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Elias Musakwa, to run on the party ticket.
Last week Zanu PF notified parliament Kereke was no longer representing the party resulting in the speaker declaring the seat vacant.
However, Kereke this week approached the Constitutional Court challenging his ejection from parliament, arguing that he had ceased to be a Zanu PF member by the time he was elected on July 31.
In his papers, Kereke said the section used to eject him from parliament, stating that a seat becomes vacant when a party writes to the Speaker or President of the Senate stating the member has ceased to belong to the party under which he or she was elected to parliament, did not apply because he ceased to be a Zanu PF member on July 10 as evidenced by a letter written by the party’s national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Although the seat makes no significant difference to the balance of power in parliament, the parties have already started preparations, with MDC-T’s losing candidate and former legislator Heya Shoko already on the ground campaigning. Former Masvingo central member of parliament, MDC-T’s Jeffryson Chitando said his party is rolling out a serious campaign to win back the seat.
“Kereke’s expulsion is a blessing to us because we are going to campaign and given the disorder in Zanu PF we may win this seat,” Chitando said.
NCA director of information and publicity Blessing Vava said his party plans to contest for the seat.
“We have not yet made that decision; there are processes that have to happen before that decision is reached,” he said.
However NCA insiders claim the party’s national taskforce member and spokesperson Madock Chivasa is the likely candidate for the seat. Chivasa said he is ready to contest if given the green light by his party.
Sources close to Kereke, however, said the businessman-cum-politician is likely to throw his hat into the ring once again to prove his popularity.