“The Norton by-election was a big disaster that should never be allowed to happen again,” said President Mugabe yesterday.

He then went on to humiliate the party’s candidate, Zanu-PF’s Ronald Chindedza.

According to Mugabe, ‘Chindedza is a big well known thief’ who should never have been allowed to contest the by-election.

Mugabe’s party lost the election to MDC backed independent candidate Mr Temba Mliswa.

Addressing supporters at the  official opening of Murongwe Primary School and Clinic in Dande yesterday, Mugabe said the party needed to do a serious introspection and ensure that the mistake was not repeated in 2018.

Mugabe described Chindedza as a notorious Zanu PF thief who was not popular with the people of Norton.

At the same meeting Mugabe made a veiled statement warning his ministers, Saviour Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo, that he would not protect anyone caught stealing regardless of their party positions.

He made it clear that the accused will have to defend themselves at courts if they face any accusations.