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200 Zanu PF Protesters Besiege Party Headquarters

President Robert Mugabe
Zanu PF supporters Wednesday besieged their party’s headquarters demanding an audience with President Robert Mugabe over the alleged imposition of House of Assembly candidates in Harare South constituency as tensions in the former liberation party grow ahead of this year’s elections.

More than 200 party supporters thronged the party’s headquarters complaining against the alleged imposition of one Shadreck Mashayamombe as the party’s candidate in parliamentary elections that will be held concurrently with the presidential poll this year.

The angry supporters waved placards at the entrance of the party’s headquarters. Some of them read, “President please help us, we don’t want an imposed candidate”.

They also demanded the return of their former legislator Hubert Nyanhongo, who has switched base and will now be standing for Zanu PF in Nyanga South constituency in Manicaland province, after winning primary elections held last week.

With the nomination court having sat to register candidates who will contest in various constituencies, it seems highly unlikely the wishes of the angry Zanu PF supporters will prevail.

Studio 7 was barred by police officers manning the Zanu PF headquarters from talking to the demonstrators before the party’s chairperson for Harare province, Amos Midzi, reportedly begged the demonstrators to leave because Mr. Mugabe was attending a politburo meeting at the offices.

Sources said the politburo urged the party’s cadres to work towards re-uniting the party’s membership following the divisive primary elections. The politburo, sources said, also deliberated on preparations for the launch of the party’s 2013 election campaign at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields set for Friday.

The so-called rebel issue is also causing problems in the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change formation. On Wednesday, the prime minister ordered all party members who filed nomination papers to stand as independent candidates in this year’s election to unconditionally withdraw them or risk expulsion.

Mr. Tsvangirai, who says he is confident he will beat President Mugabe in the presidential poll, is in Masvingo to deal with the issue of the so-called rebels as five House of Assembly constituencies in the province have disgruntled members standing as independent candidates.

Addressing party structures in the province, Mr. Tsvangirai said those who do not heed his call are free to join other political parties.

He admitted the party’s primary elections were not perfect but said in the end no-one was a loser as the big goal is to unseat Zanu PF in the next elections.

Mr. Tsvangirai is expected to launch his party’s election campaign in Marondera on Saturday.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Midzi and Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who said he was attending a politburo meeting.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has urged all party candidates for the election to meet at the party’s headquarters Thursday ahead of the party’s 2013 campaign launch Friday.