ZANU PF candidate for the upcoming Chinhoyi Ward 2 by election has received a huge endorsement from the party’s bigwigs and moneybags, who have thrown full support behind his candidature.
Walter Mutevhani was recently unanimously endorsed to stand as the ruling party candidate without being subjected to a primary election to wrest the ward seat which fell vacant following the death of Patricia Chibaya. The now deceased councillor had won her second term during August 23 and 24 harmonised polls after beating Mutevhani.
The by election is scheduled for next Saturday, December 2, 2023.
The seat has been in opposition hands for nearly two decades, but Zanu PF Mashonaland West Provincial Chairman, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, has set out to annihilate the opposition which she sais is currently at its weakest due to internecine fights.
This Saturday, Mliswa-Chikoka invited the party’s top politicians who descended on the populous Gadzema suburb, the heart of Ward 2, to mobilise support for Mutevhani, who faces Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate, Hamilton Jonasi Kapungu.
Among eminent ruling party members, who graced the ward campaign rally were War Veterans Affairs and Politburo member, Christopher Mutsvangwa, former Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira and flamboyant Zanu PF Central Committee member Mike Chimombe popularly known as “Boss Mike.”
Also present was youthful losing Chinhoyi parliamentary candidate, Thomas Chidzomba, who pledged to sink two more boreholes in the ward should Zanu PF win this time around. He drilled two other boreholes in the run up to August plebiscites, but Mutevhani went on to lose to CCC’s Chibaya.
Addressing the crowd at Domestic Hall, Mliswa-Chikoka appealed for unity of purpose among party members inorder to snatch the seat from CCC.
“Zanu PF ably led by President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was instrumental in bringing life-changing developments across the country. We, therefore, must snatch the ward from the opposition which has dismally failed in providing social services to residents.
“If we are being truthful to each other, as evidenced by the huge turnout, we cannot lose. There are visible projects being undertaken in this ward courtesy of Zanu PF, which include chicken and rabbit rearing projects,” she said.
Speaking at the same event, Mutsvangwa said voting a CCC candidate in the impending Chinhoyi by election was an exercise in futility as self-styled interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu could recall the candidate anytime, amid a raging factional fire within the opposition formation.
In Chinhoyi, of the 15 wards Zanu PF has two elected councillors and two proportional representatives, one independent councillor while CCC had 12 elected and three seconded through the women quota before recent recalls by Tshabangu that claimed the scalps of five councillors.
As it stands, there are two other by elections pending in Chinhoyi to replace axed CCC councillors, Dyke Makumbi and Lovemore Kurwakumire.
Mutevhani, who narrowly lost the August polls by 25 votes, promised the electorate to fix perennial water shortages, impassible roads and street lighting, among other shortcomings.
“If elected into office, l pledge to lobby council to end problems currently afflicting Chinhoyi Ward 2 residents such as unavailability of water, bad roads and street lights. Also, l will use my personal resources to resolve some of the challenges,” said the gold buyer.
Ahead of August 23 and 24 elections, Mutevhani rolled out a free medical treatment outreach programme for the elderly, which he also promised to extend into the future.
Chinhoyi Ward 2, which is home to hundreds of elderly people, comprises the oldest township of Gadzema.
In recent weeks, Zanu PF Mashonaland West retained seats in two local authority by-elections in Hurungwe and Banket, thereby confirming the ruling party’s dominance in the province.
In Hurungwe Rural District Council Ward 24 Zanu PF’s Jerry Makumbe polled 1 685 votes while Ezekiel Khumalo of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) tallied 415 votes.