MASVINGO - President Robert Mugabe has picked January 21, 2017 as the date for the Bikita West by-election when Zanu PF's Beauty Chabaya is expected to battle it out with other opposition candidates including Kudakwashe Gopo of ZimPF and an independent candidate, Heya Shoko.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has maintained its stance of boycottying elections until electoral reforms are made.
They have, however, made commitments to support any candidate opposing Zanu PF and are likely to rally Shoko who is an independent candidate.
Zanu PF's Masvingo provincial executive has already revealed that the seat is a must win for the party if the embarrassment of Norton is to be prevented.
Bikita remains a fragile ground since it is still nursing the wounds of horrific political violence it suffered during the run up to the 2008 elections.
Zanu PF's Masvingo provincial chairperson Amasa Nhenjana has expressed confidence in the elections saying the people of Bikita have shown their support for the party.
"Norton was a mistake which cost us a big deal. Bikita West is not a game and we will reclaim our dignity. The elections will be free and fair. We will not force anyone to vote for us but we will campaign peacefully and rally people behind our party.
"There are people who think we are a violent party and we always rig election, but that is not the case. If we had the capacity to rig, why then did we allow ourselves to be humiliated in Norton?" said Nhenjana.
He chided the opposition for being sore losers who never accept defeat graciously.
"The problem with opposition is that they see us campaigning while they relax in their different corners and when we win elections, they say we have rigged.