Fac­tion­al­ism, cor­rup­tion cost Zanu-PF Nor­ton seat

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Harare Bureau

Zanu-PF lost the Nor­ton par­lia­men­tary by-elec­tion to an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date due to its fail­ure to nip fac­tion­al­ism and cor­rup­tion in the bud, cou­pled with the in­abil­ity to sell pro­gres­sive party pro­grammes to the elec­torate on time, it has been learnt.

Ob­servers also said the im­po­si­tion of Cde Ron­ald Chind­edza against the wishes of the peo­ple also played a piv­otal role in his de­feat to Mr Temba Mliswa.

Mr Mliswa gar­nered 8 927 votes against Cde Chind­edza’s 6 192 in Satur­day by-elec­tion.

Zanu-PF sec­re­tary for ad­min­is­tra­tion Cde Ig­natius Chombo re­fused to dwell on the causes of the de­feat, but ad­mit­ted there was an ur­gent need for the party to “cleanse” rot­ten ar­eas ahead of the 2018 har­monised elec­tions.

“Af­ter any elec­tion, the province and lead­er­ship should go back and make an hon­est as­sess­ment of the pros and cons, dwell on those is­sues that did not go well and clean those ar­eas that need cleans­ing,” he said.

“The onus is now on the province, the lead­er­ship, all of us to give an hon­est as­sess­ment and en­sure that what went wrong is rec­ti­fied, so that we are ready for bat­tle, come 2018. We, as al­ways ex­pected, have to come up with some­thing that ad­dresses is­sues which would have made peo­ple not come out and vote for the party. We are there to ad­dress peo­ple’s con­cerns, we are there to en­sure ser­vice de­liv­ery and if peo­ple are not happy with any­thing we should move in and find a way to ad­dress those is­sues. We are a peo­ple-cen­tred party.”

Asked if the by-elec­tion was not an in­di­ca­tor of the 2018 elec­tions, Cde Chombo re­sponded: “Not re­ally, be­cause we have won so many elec­tions and this was just an odd one. One swal­low does not make a sum­mer.”

Zanu-PF na­tional com­mis­sar Cde Saviour Ka­sukuwere, said set­backs were nor­mal and the revo­lu­tion­ary party would bounce back.

Cde Ka­sukuwere who did not re­spond to calls and mes­sages sent to him yes­ter­day, how­ever, tweeted: “The mes­sage from the elec­torate is there for us to di­gest and we will re­turn no doubt. Nor­ton is home to great cit­i­zens and set­backs are nor­mal. Nor­ton ~ we will con­tinue work­ing to­gether and ful­fil our prom­ises.”

Zanu-PF Youth Leader Cde Kudzai Chipanga, shifted the blame on the State me­dia, without sub­stan­ti­at­ing his claims. “Fi­nally, the State me­dia has won,” he curtly said.

How­ever, Univer­sity of Zimbabwe lec­turer Pro­fes­sor She­unesu Mu­pepereki, said to win the 2018 har­monised polls re­sound­ingly, Zanu-PF had to deal with vices that were de­stroy­ing the party. “The first thing is they should not take vot­ers for granted, be­cause peo­ple watch what will be hap­pen­ing and make as­sess­ments,” he said.

“Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has al­ways been preach­ing about unity in the party and cer­tainly of­fi­cials should do a lot to show the pub­lic that the party is speak­ing with one voice. If that is not the case, there will be a lot of ‘ bhora mu­sango’ el­e­ments again. If you look at the cir­cum­stances and his­tory sur­round­ing this con­stituency, there were a lot of di­vi­sions. It is im­por­tant to unite if the party is to make an im­pact in 2018.”

Prof Mu­pepereki went on: “Cor­rup­tion is at the fore­front of ev­ery­one’s mind and at­tempts to try to de­fend some­thing that re­quires the law to take its course will take the party nowhere. If there are al­le­ga­tions, let the mat­ter be aer­ated through the le­gal route, and if some­one is not guilty it shall be proven. The pub­lic should not see as if there is a cover-up or some­one is try­ing to stop an is­sue from go­ing to court. This will play in the pub­lic psy­che and we will have re­sults like this one from Nor­ton.”

Some Zanu-PF of­fi­cials openly de­fended cor­rup­tion dur­ing the cam­paign pe­riod and, “hun­gry” vot­ers were not amused.

Prof Mu­pepereki said in Nor­ton, Zanu-PF had a pro­gres­sive pro­gramme of giv­ing peo­ple res­i­den­tial stands, which reached the masses late: “Stands only came when elec­tions were upon the peo­ple,” he said.

“They have to an­a­lyse is­sues dis­pas­sion­ately. It is not time for fin­ger-point­ing, but in­tro­spec­tion.”

An­other an­a­lyst Mr Tendai Toto, said while Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe was al­ways ad­vo­cat­ing for unity, some party mem­bers were pulling in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

“There is fric­tional and fac­tional cancer in Zanu-PF,” he said. “There has been the un­for­given forced exit of able and use­ful party mem­bers as a re­sult of the fric­tions and fac­tions ev­i­dent in the party. These can­cers are planted by in­di­vid­u­als who don’t be­lieve that they can be led by lead­ers other than them­selves. Of the mem­ber­ship and lead­er­ship sur­viv­ing in Zanu-PF, many are guilty of lead­er­ship abuse and leap-frog­ging to con­trol po­lit­i­cal power by virtue of be­long­ing to this and that leader. 2018 elec­tions are soon in the play­ground, and with these be­hav­iours and con­duct, the ‘bhora mu­sango’ will plague Zanu-PF in a tremen­dous way.”

Some Zanu-PF supporters in Nor­ton claimed that the com­mis­sariat depart­ment had im­posed Cde Chind­edza on them. Cde Chind­edza yes­ter­day said he was “too busy to com­ment” on the elec­tion re­sult.

Said Mr Toto: “Pre­par­ing a can­di­date for an elec­tion is im­por­tant. Sell­ing him and the po­lit­i­cal party ideas on of­fer to hope­ful cit­i­zens is also im­por­tant. The last minute, quick fix­ing caused an em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment for the party. Zanu-PF must learn that overly re­ly­ing on a few in­di­vid­u­als for po­lit­i­cal coun­sel and ad­vice can be dis­as­trous, es­pe­cially when the trusted tal­is­men are un­car­ing mas­ters of rhetoric and de­struc­tive po­lit­i­cal ideas.”

On cor­rup­tion, Mr Toto said: “Gov­ern­ment must put an ef­fort to ef­fec­tively ad­dress the calls by the na­tion to mit­i­gate on in­sti­tu­tion­alised cor­rup­tion and its de­struc­tive ef­fects. The ev­i­dent lack of will to deal with the brag­ging cor­rup­tion­ists who must stand the yard­stick of lifestyle au­dit is wor­ri­some to the na­tion.”

An­other an­a­lyst Mr Maxwell Saung­weme said Zanu-PF lost be­cause of “multi-faceted” rea­sons.

“Cor­rup­tion is one of them, where we have ar­ro­gance on the part of some Zanu-PF of­fi­cials who pub­licly de­fend the vice,” he said. “Some of its of­fi­cials are not se­ri­ous about any of their pro-poor party pro­grammes, but are in­ter­ested in lin­ing their pock­ets. If that tra­jec­tory plus fac­tion­al­ism con­tinue, we will see change in 2018.”

Mr Mliswa said he eas­ily won the by-elec­tion be­cause of the in-fight­ing tak­ing place in Zanu-PF.

“I felt l was un­fairly ex­pelled from Zanu-PF and even­tu­ally par­lia­ment. Re­mem­ber me say­ing l will be back and now l am back!” he said.

“l sim­ply max­imised on the in-house fight­ing in Zanu-PF. How can l fail to win against a party whose whole po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar is al­ways fir­ing peo­ple in­stead of re­cruit­ing? This is a mes­sage to Zanu-PF that if you don’t deal with your man­i­festo and con­cen­trate on in-fight­ing, peo­ple will speak out like they did in Nor­ton.”

The other can­di­date in Nor­ton, Mr David Choga of Na­tional Con­sul­ta­tive As­sem­bly amassed 89 votes.

Vice Pres­i­dent Mphoko’s wife Lau­rinda (right), presents chicks to one of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Pu­mula, Bu­l­awayo, yes­ter­day

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