Kasukuwere on collision course with Bulawayo over party’s primary elections

ZANU-PF Politburo and Central Committee members from Bulawayo Province yesterday set themselves on a collision course with the party’s national commissariat department after they disqualified some aspiring candidates for the party’s primary elections.The party officials defied national secretary for the commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere’s directive to give every aspiring candidate a chance to contest.

The Central Committee and Politburo members met behind closed doors at the Zanu-PF provincial headquarters, Davies Hall, and resolved to disqualify party members who had submitted their names prior to the vetting process, which was done on March 29.

They argued that the excluded candidates had not been vetted by the provincial elections directorate.

But sources told The Chronicle the party members could find themselves in trouble with the commissariat department, which runs primary elections. A senior Politburo source said primary elections were run by the commissariat department headed by Kasukuwere and the party would not be subjected to a fictitious March 29 deadline set by people who should know better.

Kasukuwere said he could not immediately comment on the Bulawayo Zanu-PF primaries candidate list as he was still to be informed on the new developments.

“Nothing has been communicated to me so far. I can only comment when I have been informed about the new development. I need to hear the reasons why they have decided to do that. Under normal circumstances, the provincial leadership looks at the CVs and makes recommendations to the national leadership. I’ll therefore be in a position to comment when the province has submitted its recommendations,” said Kasukuwere.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Politburo and Central Committee members were introduced to the new interim provincial executive led by former Bulawayo Mayor Alderman Dennis Ndlovu, which was appointed on Sunday after the Christopher Dube-led executive was dissolved.

Nacisio Makhulumo, the new provincial secretary for administration, told The Chronicle that the Politburo and Central Committee members had endorsed only the names of the candidates who had been vetted by the provincial elections directorate.

“Following the Politburo’s decision to uphold the vote of no confidence passed on the previous executive, the Politburo and Central Committee members sat today and endorsed the names of aspiring candidates who were vetted by the provincial elections directorate which met on March 29.

“This therefore disqualifies all members who submitted their CVs after the vetting process. In these circumstances, the successful candidates will be announced in due course by the relevant authorities,” he said.

Makhulumo could not be drawn to reveal the number of candidates that had been disqualified, preferring instead to reiterate that Politburo and Central Committee members found it fit to disqualify the candidates on the grounds that their CVs had not been vetted by the provincial elections directorate.

The party will hold primary elections this Saturday in the five constituencies where by-elections will be held.

Mpopoma, Lobengula, Pumula, Makokoba and Luveve constituencies fell vacant after the expulsion from Parliament of 21 MDC-T MPs who defected to form the MDC Renewal.

President Robert Mugabe has since proclaimed April 16 as the date for the sitting of the nomination court and June 10 as the date for the by-elections.

Kasukuwere last week opened the flood gates and directed the province to start collecting CVs from all interested candidates and send names to the party headquarters on Friday so that the commissariat provides ballot papers for primary elections on Saturday.

He said the names of the successful candidates would then be submitted to the party’s headquarters in Harare tomorrow while everyone who wanted to contest the Bulawayo primaries should be allowed to do so.

By Friday last week, a total of 32 party members in Bulawayo had expressed interest in contesting in the party’s primary elections for the five constituencies.
Some of the 32 members have since been disqualified. Meanwhile, Central Committee member,Mpehlabayo Malinga, said he was not taking part in the polls after reports that he was eyeing the Makokoba constituency.

He said the youth league had submitted his CV when he was away in Kenya but upon return, he withdrew it.