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Mavhima’s mammoth task in uniting Zanu PF Midlands factions

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THE Zanu PF Midlands provincial elections have come and gone, with the new executive in place, but incoming Midlands chairperson Larry Mavhima (pictured) faces a herculean task in uniting the divided factions in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backyard.

STEPHEN CHADENGA

Mnangagwa imposed Mavhima after warring factions pitting fired State Security minister Owen Ncube, Local Government minister July Moyo and minister of State in the President’s Office, Joram Gumbo were fighting for the control of the province.

 The factional battles escalated in early January when Ncube gate-crushed a provincial co[1]ordinating committee meeting in the Midlands capital accompanied by machete-wielding gangs in an attempt to impose his allies on the provincial structures.

 But last week, Mnangagwa, incensed by the antics of his long-time confidant, had no option, but to show Ncube the exit door, firing him from his ministerial post. In what observers have said is pacification for Ncube after his dramatic fallout, the former State Security minister managed to be included in the provincial executive, albeit with a less influential post of secretary for production and labour.

It is, however, Mavhima’s herculean task to rein in his long-time foe (Ncube) who has been clashing with other ruling party stalwarts in the province as Zanu PF Midlands tries to consolidate its support base ahead of the 26 March by-elections and next year’s harmonised elections.

This week, Mavhima admitted that he faced a tough task in uniting the province and appealed to party members to bury their differences.

“My plea to you comrades as your chairman is that we unite or at least attempt to unite,” Mavhima said in his statement as the new provincial boss.

 “In retrospect our differences are very mi[1]nor as we all claim to be 100% behind HE ED Mnangagwa our current and future President in 2023 and one united Zanu PF party led by our current presidium, who have all clearly stated their support for Cde Dr ED Mnangagwa as the sole candidate for the 2023 general elections.

“Let us now put our personal differences aside and rally to win the by-lections and the 2023 general elections. I, as your chairman, am willing and fully commit to work with the current provincial executive committee, which is a blended group of opposing forces and foes, but people with one common objective — that of winning for Cde ED Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.”

Mavhima expressed worry over negative comments from individuals and groups “which are extremely upsetting and not unifying at all in various media platforms”.

As the new chairperson, he promised to be “fair and work together” with all ruling party members in ensuring the province succeeds in garnering votes for Mnangagwa in the 2023 presidential race.

But a party insider said uniting the province was going to be a “nightmare” for Mavhima, as antagonists would not “simply budge” from their entrenched positions, despite his call for unity. “Indeed, the new chairman is right in admit[1]ting that there are opposing forces in the provincial executive and it is not going to be easy for him to bring these people together,” the in[1]sider said.

“At face value the party comrades may appear to agree in meetings, but nocturnal meetings of rival groups will continue as before. That is the DNA of Zanu PF. You are always with your al[1]lies plotting and counterplotting.”

In the new provincial executive, Mavhima is deputised by Chiherenge Chakanyuka, whom Ncube’s team initially campaigned for to be the provincial boss before the Mnangagwa’s intervention to impose Mavhima.

The secretary for administration is Edmund Mukaratigwa, while Chirumanzu legislator and deputy Environment minister Barbara Rwodzi clinched the finance portfolio. Pearson Mbale[1]kwa is the new secretary for security.

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