Zanu-PF political drama climaxes this Saturday

Zanu-PF political drama climaxes this Saturday
Published: 02 July 2015 (1299 Views)
Zanu-PF Mashonaland East province's political drama climaxes this Saturday with six candidates vying for the provincial chairmanship vacated by businessman, Ray Kaukonde, who was expelled from the ruling party.

There will also be elections to decide who shall lead the women and youth leagues positions left vacant following the death of the party's Women's League chairperson, Aquelina Katsande, and the two-year suspension of Youth League chair, Luckson Kandemiri.

Kaukonde and Kandemiiri were respectively expelled and suspended for allegedly being linked to former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was also expelled from both the party and government for reportedly attempting to unconstitutionally unseat President Robert Mugabe.

Candidates had their curriculum vitas vetted and accepted by the Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting presided over by Zanu-PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, on Sunday.

Goromonzi East Legislator, Beatrice Nyamupinga, who was spared the axe by the Politburo last month over her possible links with Mujuru, has thrown her hat into the ring to contest for the leadership of the province's Women's League.

She will battle it out with former senior police officer, Aplonia Munzveregwi-Chard, who has lost her bid for the Wedza North legislative seat at primary election level twice.

Munzveregwi-Chard quit the police force in 2012 after having risen to the post of Senior Assistant Commissioner to concentrate on politics.

While the highlight of the event will be the main wing, battle lines have been drawn in the Youth League in which six candidates square off.

Sources from the region said candidates have formed campaign alliances as they seek to outfox each other in the ensuing clash.

In the main wing, it is a clash of the titans between Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland East, Joel Biggie Matiza and Chikomba East legislator, Edgar Mbwembwe.

While Matiza has been canvassing for support since the beginning of the year and once a clear favourite, the late entry of Mbwembwe has taken him by surprise and shaken his footing.

Mbwembwe has big names like Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Paddington Zhanda and Industry and Commerce Minister, Mike Bimha in his corner.

The two are his campaign managers and they have openly declared their support for him and their opposition for Matiza.

Interim chairman, Aeneas Chigwedere has seen his star fade in recent weeks. The entry of Mbwembwe has further dampened his chances and is now being seen as too distant a prospect.

On Tuesday, Chigwedere said elections would go ahead as scheduled.

"As far as we are concerned, the elections will go ahead on Saturday as scheduled. Everything is in place," he said.

Three other fringe candidates, Philemon Mutongi from Wedza district, Obert Nyarugwi from Uzumba district and Kizito Kuchekwa from Marondera Central complete the list.

Those who will fight for the chairmanship of the provincial youth league include interim chair, Farai Maimba, Wilbert Kahari, Wellington Peyana, Collin Mutsvairo, Wayne Bvunzawabaya, Danny Mutsambiri and one Ngondo from Goromonzi.

Mbwembwe, Nyamupinga and Kahari are understood to have formed an alliance that is opposed to Matiza's, to which Munzerengwi-Chard and Mutsvairo belong.

Maimba is believed to be rallying behind Chigwedere although he denied the report in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

"I am not in alliance with anyone. I am a loner and I am very confident of victory," he said.

There are last minute campaigns going on currently with reports of sporadic violent clashes.

On Sunday, Mbwembwe's team, led by Zhanda and Bimha clashed with Matiza's team outside the party's provincial offices in Marondera, exchanging words and nearly trading blows in the presence of Kasukuwere.

The unimpressed commissar had to read the riot act, threatening disciplinary action on anyone who would cause trouble, but not before youths aligned to Matiza ran after Zhanda.

This was after Zhanda organised youths comprising mainly of district chairpersons from Seke and Chikomba to sing and dance campaigning for Mbwembwe.

Addressing the youths, Zhanda, who was flanked by Bimha and Mbwembwe, said: "You all know that I was once a chairperson for this province and my name has never been soiled. Some people are urging me to enter this race but I am no longer interested in this. All I want you to know is I have brought you my candidate and we are appealing for your vote. As Mashonaland East province leadership, we saw that this man Edgar Mbwembwe is the best candidate for this post.

"How can a person (Matiza) have two posts, a Provincial state minister and a chairman? Mbwembwe comes from the same area with the First Lady, so why can we not support him."

That was how far the youths aligned to Matiza could take it. They started heckling him.

One youth was heard shouting from the crowd: "The Commissar (Kasukuwere) told us that leaders must not impose candidates on us, but you have already started. You are ministers and what is your interest in the districts. Use your money to develop the province rather than to buy votes."

"Down with you," another youth shouted and they charged.

Sensing danger, Bimha and Zhanda fled for their lives as the situation deteriorated.

Matiza was not available for comment.

- fingaz

Tags: Zanu-PF,

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