RIFTS have emerged in former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First in Masvingo over the impending Bikita West by-election.
It has emerged that while senior members like former Zanu-PF stalwart Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire and the party’s provincial spokesperson Retired Colonel Kudzai Mbudzi are against taking part, another faction led by the party’s founding provincial chairman Retired Col Claudius Makova has already nominated Mr Kudakwashe Gopo to stand.
The seat fell vacant following the incarceration of Munyaradzi Kereke on rape charges. He was sentenced to 10 years for raping a 14-year-old girl at gun point.
Those who are in Mr Mavhaire’s corner argue that it was not yet time for the party to take part in any elections as they, and other opposition parties, are demanding so-called electoral reforms.
ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said the party has not yet come up with a resolution on the by-election whose date is yet to be gazetted. Rtd Col Mbudzi said the party’s provincial executive was not aware of the move taken by Rtd Col Makova on Mr Gopo’s candidature.
Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera). Makova and company bulldozed their way and came out with that decision but we do not support it,” said Rtd Col Mbudzi.
Rtd Col Makova confirmed that they have nominated a candidate to stand for the party in the forthcoming by-election. He said what they did was above board.
“We followed the party’s position. It was not a one-man band as I didn’t decide on my own. I led the process but the truth is I do have the blessing of the party. We’ve since nominated a candidate and there’s no more going back. There are people who just want to make noise for nothing. I know that there are such people but what I know is that we’re contesting the by-election in Bikita West,” said Rtd Col Makova, a former MP for the constituency during his Zanu-PF days.