Zanu PF has threatened to discipline members that flout the party's rules in their bid to seek election as it prepares for primary elections ahead of national plebiscite next year.
The party's spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said democracy would take its course in choosing parliamentary aspirants that would represent Zanu PF in next year's elections.
"We cannot impose candidates. That is unacceptable," said Gumbo on Friday. "But of course, we have not yet completed the criteria for running the primary elections.
"If there is anything of that nature, we will have to look into it. We will engage the provincial leadership and they will have to explain."
Gumbo's comments came as jostling for Masvingo North has become intense in the constituency.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Stan Mudenge, a Zanu PF politburo member, who was also the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, last month.
Mudenge collapsed and died in his room at Great Zimbabwe Hotel, where he was due to deliver a speech at a workshop. Three aspirants - Jacob Chademana, Lieutenant Colonel Davison Charambira and Davis Marapira - are eyeing the seat.
Charambira and Chademana, the headmaster of Victoria Junior Primary School, confirmed to The Standard that they would start campaigning once they got the green light from Zanu PF. The party banned campaigning until election dates were announced.
Chademana is linked to a faction sympathetic to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, while Charambira is said to be close to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa's camp. Former Masvingo governor, Dzikamai Mavhaire is linked to the Mujuru camp and another ex-governor and Chivi-Mwenezi Senator, Josiah Hungwe to the Mnangagwa faction.
Zanu PF has dispatched its politburo members and other senior officials to mobilise support in the country's districts ahead of next year's elections.
Battle for Masvingo North brewing
commenting on the electoral contest in Masvingo North, Chademana said, "It will be a mammoth task. I am certain Marapira and Charambira are also interested, while other dark horses are also said to be waiting for the dates to be announced."
"As of now, the election criterion has not yet been set, so we are all aspiring Zanu PF candidates."