Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has told the people of Hurungwe not be fooled by independent candidate Temba Mliswa in the coming 10 June by-elections because the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front is like an elephant which bulldozes its way without being swayed by barking dogs.
“People must never be fooled in any way as ZANU-PF is like an elephant, which walks its way without being swayed by barking dogs,” he was quoted by The Herald as saying. “Don’t be fooled by Mliswa who claims that you are his people in his palms. Are you his people? I tell you ZANU-PF is a pocket big enough to accommodate everyone who loves it. It is not a pocket that can only accommodate one person.”
Mnangagwa was in Hurungwe to campaign for the party candidate Keith Guzah who is contesting Mliswa in the by-election created by the expulsion of Mliswa from Parliament after he was expelled from the ruling party.
ZANU-PF is said to be jittery about prospects that Mliswa could win the seat and shame the party proving that he is more popular with the local community.
Mliswa was expelled because he was believed to be among those loyal to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru but he recently criticised Mujuru for letting her supporters down by not forming a party to accommodate her supporters who are being persecuted by ZANU-PF.
So far, about a dozen former ZANU-PF officials have been expelled for being loyal to Mujuru and more than 100 suspended for periods ranging from two to five years.
ZANU-PF has, however, said those suspended are still members of the party and can hold their seats in Parliament if they are legislators, but cannot hold party positions during the period of suspension.
More suspensions are likely to follow as the party is still dealing with disciplinary cases from four other provinces.
Sources say Mliswa has gone all out to win the Hurungwe West seat because he wants to use it as a bargaining chip to rejoin ZANU-PF.
“Mliswa is looking at Jonathan Moyo, Jonathan Samkange and Munyaradzi Kereke. They won their seats as independent candidates after falling out with the party but have all now been taken back. He wants to rejoin ZANU-PF and not to team up with Mai Mujuru,” the source said.