Zanu PF primary polls reignite factional battles
THE recent Zanu PF primary elections have re-ignited the battle for the control of Masvingo province between factions aligned to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, with most candidate aligned to the ruling party strongman falling by the wayside.
Mnangagwa’s faction is fronted by minister of State for Masvingo Ezra Chadzamira, while the Chiwenga faction is led by Zanu PF provincial chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa.
The primary elections we marred by several irregularities in the province as more than 30% of voters failed to locate their names on the party’s cell registers which were being managed by a shadowy group, Forever Associates Zimbabwe.
All three sitting legislators in Bikita district lost to newcomers and these are Elias Musakwa, Johnson Madhuku and Josiah Sithole. In Zaka, the sitting MP for Zaka Central who is strongly linked to Chadzamira, Davison Svuure, was defeated by deputy minister of Agriculture Davison Marapira who transferred from Masvingo North to his rural home of Zaka. Marapira is a key member of the Mavhenyengwa faction.
In Chiredzi, only one legislator, Roy Bhila of Chiredzi North, retained the right to represent the ruling party during the general elections, with three other sitting MPs Farai Musikavanhu (Chiredzi West), Kallisto Gwanetsa (Chiredzi South) and Denford Masiya (Chiredzi East) losing to newcomers.
Musikavanhu lost to former Chiredzi Town Council chairperson Francis Moyo, who made headlines earlier this year after the results of a commission instituted by the then Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere were released implicating him of gross abuse of office.
Masiya and Gwanetsa, who represent the local predominantly Shangaan community, were affected by the controversial lucerne project as locals felt that they are not doing enough to protect locals from an uncaring government. The two, both former members of the security sector, were no aligned to any faction.
A Zanu PF youth provincial member told The NewsHawks the Chiwenga faction is consolidating power in Masvingo as most of its candidates managed to win the primary elections. He said the party’s cell registers were managed by FAZ throughout the country but many people failed to locate their names in the registers, creating a lot of confusion.
“If you look at it, it is simple for one to see that a faction fronted by the provincial chair is the one which took many seats in Masvingo. This happened in many districts, in Guru, Bikita, Zaka, Chiredzi, Mwenezi while they shared in Masvingo and Chivi. It is something which leadership cannot openly talk about but there is a battle for control of the party between those two factions.”
“Cell registers were supposed to be under the control of the party, but officers from FAZ are the ones who produced the current registers and managed the whole process, which created confusion, especially in Mwenezi, Chiredzi and Masvingo districts,” said the youth.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson Pepukai Chiwewe said the voting process went on smoothly, but pointed out that he was no longer allowed to comment on anything regarding the outcome of the process and referred all questions to Mike Bhima, the party’s national commissar.