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» » » » » Election threatens to split People First

Itai Muzondo

MASVINGO – The Joyce Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First (Zim PF), which is less than a year old, is facing another dilemma with its Masvingo provincial leadership torn apart by disagreements over whether the party should contest in the Bikita West parliamentary by-election to replace Munyaradzi Kereke.
A faction reportedly led by Retired Colonel Claudius Makova has since nominated Kudakwashe Gopo as a candidate to contest in the by-election on a ZimPF ticket.
Another faction, which is allegedly rallying behind Dzikamai Mavhaire's leadership, is however criticising the move saying time is not yet ripe for the party to participate in electoral processes.
Speaking to TellZim News, Gopo said it made no sense that a party is formed yet fails to take part in elections as if there are no eligible candidates.
"I don't know why some of our colleagues want to deny us a chance to take part in elections. In my opinion, we have a great chance of winning this seat judging by the performance of the MDC-T performance in this constituency in the 2013 elections.
"How can we say we have formed a political party and yet fail to contest in elections? Wouldn't it be like forming a football team, going for training but only to sit in the terraces during match time?" Gopo said.
"Lack of electoral reforms does not stop us from contesting. Pressure for reforms must be exerted as we fight the system from within. We also have an added advantage because the party's first grassroots structures in the province were formed in this constituency so we have a lot of support," he added.
If Zim PF contests in the by-election, it will be the fledgling party's first time to take part in an election.
Zim PF Provincial spokesperson, Retired Colonel Kudzai Mbudzi, however, professed ignorance over the issue and said the idea to contest was reached against the will of all party members.
"What by-election? I am not aware of it because as a province, we did not agree to take part in the by-election. We are against contesting any election for now as agreed by all opposition parties under the National Electorate Reforms Agenda (NERA). I think you can get comment from Makova and company who bulldozed their way and made those arrangements," Mbudzi said.
No opposition political party has won any by-election in the country since 2013, compelling opposition parties to boycott elections until government implements electoral reforms.
When asked for comment, political analyst, Vince Musewe criticised Zim PF for contradicting what they purportedly stand for.
"It doesn't make any sense. They are simply contradicting themselves. If they take part in the by-election and win, what would they do next? Is this the only constituency they need? Would they have done justice to win only one seat and sacrifice everything else?" Musewe

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