Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
ZANU-PF First Secretary, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to meet youths and students before holding star rallies in all the country’s provinces as his party’s campaign juggernaut gets into full swing.
The ruling party’s Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu, told Sunday News yesterday that President Mnangagwa officially kicked off his campaign with the war veterans meeting on Friday and will now meet youths and students before the star rallies.
Dr Mpofu said the party’s commissariat was working on the programme for the star rallies including venues and dates. He said Zanu-PF was confident of an overwhelming victory in this year’s watershed elections.
“Yesterday (Friday) the President had a very successful meeting with the war veterans. He will soon meet students and youths around the country. He will also address stakeholders in different institutions where there is potential to mobilise support for the party. Star rallies will be held in all the 10 provinces. The commissariat is working on the actual programme, you will be informed of the dates and venues in due course,” said Dr Mpofu.
He added that the party’s campaign trail had already started and rallies would be held in all the provinces and districts where senior party officials will address. Dr Mpofu said after holding successful primary elections the party was now focusing its energy towards the harmonised elections where it is confident of outright victory.
“People are keen to meet the President and the party is confident of a landslide victory. Our main target now is the harmonised elections and that is where we are focusing our energies. Rallies will be held in all provinces and districts which will be addressed by senior supporters to mobilise support for the party,” he said.
President Mnangagwa, a fortnight ago, launched Zanu-PF’s 2018 election manifesto whose thrust is to promote investment and business growth in line with the vision to transform Zimbabwe into a middle income country by 2030. The business friendly manifesto outlines various measures to address economic sectors that include agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure development, health and education to create a diversified economy.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has sternly warned party members who lost in the primary elections to desist from de-campaigning candidates who were selected to represent the party in this year’s harmonised elections. The disgruntled members are disputing the outcome of the primary elections citing irregularities in how elections were run.
Dr Mpofu said losing candidates threatening to decampaign the party’s candidates at all levels of the election race were out of order and risked being sanctioned. He said such behaviour could only be expected from agents of chaos planted into the party by its enemies.
“If they are genuine party members they can’t do that. Such behaviour can only come from people planted into the party to cause chaos. We will not tolerate that. It is gross indiscipline for anyone to behave in that manner after such an open process where candidates were given equal opportunities and platforms to campaign. If they behave like that, then they are bad losers.”
Dr Mpofu urged party members including losing candidates to rally behind those that have been chosen to represent the party in the plebiscite.
“Our main target is the harmonised elections and all party members should support the chosen candidates. We can’t expend our energies on negativities. We urge all members of the party who didn’t make it in the primaries to support our candidates,” he said.
Dr Mpofu said some of the complaints raised by the losing candidates had no basis and bordered on bitterness.
“If there are irregularities we accept that but what is worrying is that most of the complaints are coming after results were announced. The candidates allowed voting to go on and only started complaining after realising that they had lost,” he said.
Dr Mpofu urged the losing candidates not to look at the defeat in the primaries as the end of their political careers, adding that there is more work for them in the party.
Zanu-PF held its primary elections last month to select candidates who will represent the party in the forthcoming harmonised elections. There will be re-runs in about 10 National Assembly constituencies because legitimate concerns were raised about the polling processes there. Around 200 National Assembly aspirants, 60 Senate candidates, 60 Women’s quota representatives, 48 provincial council hopefuls, and about 1 900 prospective local authority councillors were given a thumbs up.
Several Politburo members and ministers lost in the primaries as Zanu-PF continues on its renewal path. A record number of more than 8 000 candidates took part in the primaries which showcased the ruling party’s reinvigorated internal democracy.