Bikita West tense as rivals eye seat

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PLANS to launch a by-election campaign in Bikita West for Zanu PF’s official candidate Elias Musakwa by a team led by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti were abandoned last Thursday, sources in the party’s Masvingo provincial executive have said.

Elias Mambo

Zanu PF’s de facto supreme decision-making body outside congress, the politburo, fired Kereke for insubordination for allegedly contesting elections in defiance of a party directive to withdraw and allow his former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe workmate, Musakwa, to run on the party ticket.

Kereke is challenging his expulsion at the Constitutional Court arguing that he was no longer a member of Zanu PF when he contested the July 31 elections.

The case will be heard next Wednesday, after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled this week the matter was urgent.

“The by-election, if ordered by the courts, is likely to be explosive because Bhasikiti’s team to Bikita was stopped after being warned that violence could break out,” a source said.

Kereke is said to be backed by a faction led by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is said to be battling it out with Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed President Robert Mugabe when he steps down.

“They (Mnangagwa faction) have advised Kereke to stay put. Kereke also has the backing of senior army people in Masvingo province,” a politburo member said. “Bikita West is to be turned into a war zone as militant factions are ready to battle it out in order to win the seat.”

Efforts to contact Kereke over his plans for a possible by-election were unsuccessful as he was said to be “out of town”.

Sources close to Kereke said prior to the July 31 elections, Zanu PF asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on July 4 to remove Kereke’s name from its list of candidates, but the request was turned down by Zec chairperson Rita Makarau, who said it was impossible to do so without Kereke’s consent. Besides Zanu PF, the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has hinted it will contest in the by-lection.

NCA director of information and publicity Blessing Vava said they visited Bikita West for consultations.

“The trip was part of our feedback meetings that we are conducting with our structures countrywide. We took this opportunity to get a feel of the political temperature in the constituency and we are satisfied with the overwhelming response that we got from the people of Bikita,” said Vava.

One thought on “Bikita West tense as rivals eye seat”

  1. wamaromo says:

    Son of Bikita take them head on. I thought when you started it all you were said not to be a card carrying member of ZanuPf, the next thing we heard you are contesting primaries on zanupf, then next it is you have been advised to give way to Musakwa, next you are on the ballot paper, finally you are fired from the party. You went on as we all know to win. At your rallies you never chanted ZanuPf slogans. We know you donated moneys to schools ( otherwise known as vote buying if done by MDC-T) but you did it well and helped by the fake slips and ‘don’t think just vote’ indocrination in people you came tops hey. Chero ve MDC-T voted for you in protest at the imposition of Shoko by MDC-T so since you had been fired from ZanuPF they took you to be independent. I wish you win your case and never go back to ZanuPF again they will humiliate you except if there is leadership change.

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