Political tension has reportedly hit both Zanu PF and opposition MDC-T camps in Manicaland province, where disgruntled party members, who lost in the primary elections, have threatened to shock their leaders by registering as independent candidates when the nomination court sits on Thursday.
This came amid reports that both parties held shambolic primary elections, which left their supporters sharply divided along factional lines.
The MDC-T is yet to finalise its candidates’ selection process in some constituencies, where party members have reportedly resisted imposition of candidates, particularly from MDC Alliance partners.
On Saturday, a handful of MDC-T supporters in Chimanimani West protested at Nyanyadzi business centre over alleged imposition of former Energy and Power Development deputy minister Munacho Mutezo as their MDC Alliance parliamentary candidate.
Mutezo, of ZimPF, is contesting the election on an MDC Alliance ticket.
The MDC-T members wanted local businessman Canaan Matiashe to represent them.
Matiashe yesterday said: “The voice of the people is the voice of the God and I follow what people are saying and I can’t say no to the people.”
Mutezo said the protesters were not genuine and had been paid by Zanu PF.
“How can an opposition demonstrate against an opposition? They were paid by Zanu PF. I am very much aware about that,” he said. “I don’t think the demonstrators were genuine.
“This election is not about personalities, but developmental issues. The constituency of Chimanimani West knows who has been working with them delivering robust projects and assistance to the community.
“That is why Engineer Mutezo is fondly known as Kanotumika. This is a household name in the constituency.”
MDC-T Manicaland provincial spokesperson Trevor Saruwaka said: “I am not aware of that. I am sure there will be one list of candidates representing the party. If other individuals decide to come as independents, it’s their choice.”
In another development, a Zanu PF source in Manicaland yesterday said they were planning to shock their provincial leadership on Thursday.
“We are going to see a lot of surprises on Thursday. I have talked to some losing candidates and they indicated that they might file as independent candidates,” he said.
But Zanu PF provincial secretary for administration, Kenneth Saruchera, downplayed the tension, saying they were still uniting the losing and winning
“I don’t think that there is going to be surprises. We are going through a healing process to pacify party members. The most important thing is not the individual, but the party,” he said.