ZAPU has chosen to sit out the Ward 4 by-election in Insiza in Matabeleland South slated for October 22, 2022, as they are still putting up structures ahead of next year’s general elections.
ZAPU is, however, in the running for the Ward 2 by-election in Matobo, Matabeleland South slated for the same day.
Only two candidates, Augustine Gumede from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and Daniel Dube of Zanu PF will battle for the Insiza council seat after they successfully filed their papers at the Nomination Court held at Filabusi Centre on Wednesday.
MDC-T has said contesting in the by-election is a ‘waste of time and resources.’
The Ward 4 council seat fell vacant after the death of Zanu PF Councillor, Lawrence Maphosa.
In an interview with CITE, ZAPU National Spokesperson, Msongelwa Ndlovu, confirmed the party was not prepared for Insiza.
“ZAPU deploys candidates on the basis of existence and or feedback from our local structures. In this instance, our structures are of the view that it is better to prepare for 2023 than deploy a candidate now. Our leadership accepted their position,” he said.
“ZAPU is, however, campaigning for the Ward 2 by-election in Matobo and our candidate is Liberty Nyirongo.”
Although the party said its campaigning process was “going on very well” it was “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of that by-election.
“Our rivals have deployed massive resources towards the by-election while we are running our campaigns on a shoestring budget. But we are hopeful that we, as ZAPU, will prevail in this ward,” Ndlovu said.
Nyirongo will be going up against Sindiso Ngwenya of CCC and Frederick Siwela of Zanu PF.
ZAPU’s newly appointed Secretary for Political education, Mncedisi Mavuso Tshabalala, who is on the ground in Matobo, expressed concern over potential room for election violence.
He claimed the ruling party had gathered war veterans, who were part of their league, to campaign for the Zanu PF candidate.
“There is serious friction and temperatures are very high as we have information that members of the war veterans league, taken from the whole of Matobo, were deployed to Ward 2, where they will be campaigning for Zanu PF,” Tshabalala said.
“War veterans are people prone to using violent tactics but as ZAPU, it is our wish that people must not be abused or abuse others towards elections.”
Tshabalala also criticised the police in Matobo who allegedly threw tear gas at CCC members who were going around campaigning in the ward.
“There was some commotion as Matobo police fired tear gas at our fellow competitors – CCC. ZAPU fought for this country to do away with such violence and it’s sad to see that Zanu is bringing this violence. The Sun-Yat-Sen police station was built during the Gukurahundi time, so to hear that police from that station fired tear gas takes us back to the Gukurahundi era where people were abducted at night,” he said.
“There should always be no violence. Any political party must campaign peacefully and people in those areas should not live in fear that political campaigns may end up becoming violent or be restricted by political activities.”