FORMER Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti's bid to contest the upcoming Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election on a Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) ticket got a boost yesterday after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said it would not interfere in the internal squabbles currently rocking the Joice Mujuru-led party.
Bhasikiti is among six other ZimPF founding members, who were fired from the party last week on allegations of being Zanu PF agents. The group has, however, remained defiant, claiming they were bona fide ZimPF members, with the former minister saying he would contest the Mwenezi East by-election as the party's candidate.
Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, said Bhasikiti could be considered as a ZimPF candidate as long as he provides the required supporting documents.
"We have no mandate to deal with conflicts in political parties. Zec does not register political parties, all we do is that when we call for nominations for an election, we expect political parties to come forward and if they meet the legal requirements, they will be registered to participate in the polls," she said.
Last week, Mujuru told supporters in Masvingo that the party will not be taking part in any by-elections after it suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Bikita West by-election.
"The blanket statement is that we will not be participating in any by-elections because our people have said no to by-elections. If you see anyone participating in by-elections, they are not from ZimPF," she said.
This came as newly-launched opposition party, Economic Reform Assembly (ERA), has declared its intention to participate in the upcoming by-election to test the country's electoral playing field ahead of next year's general elections.
ERA, which is led by South African-based Zimbabwean activist, Amos Dangwa, said they were yet to identify a suitable candidate to contest the by-election slated for April 8.
The ruling Zanu PF has also not yet announced its candidate.
ERA's interim organising secretary, Tineyi Wande, said the party was confident of posting respectable votes, despite the opposition party being virtually unknown.
"Currently, we are in the process of identifying a candidate, who is going to represent us in the by-election. We have done our homework and we are confident that our party will be victorious in the by-election," he said.
The Mwenezi East seat fell vacant following the death of Zanu PF legislator, Joshua Moyo, in December last year.
Wande said the Bulawayo-based opposition party promises improved health, among other socio-economic activities.
"We are also committed to the creation of a non-racist, non-tribal nation with no tolerance of any form of discrimination. We also want to develop agriculture, industrial and mining sectors in order to enhance productivity levels and reduce unemployment among Zimbabweans," he said
"Our main thrust is to create a sustainable economic well-being and quality of life for all Zimbabweans. As ERA, we believe political ideology does not benefit anyone at all. It's sad that Zimbabwe is one of the richest countries in the world but our people continue to suffer."
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