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Turmoil ahead of Masvingo primaries

Staff Writer

ALL is not well in Masvingo Central where Zanu PF stalwarts in the province have trained their attention ahead of party primaries to be held at the end of the year.

T face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Eddison Zvobgo (jnr) and Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairman Daniel Shumba have both laid claim to the seat, currently in the hands of the opposition MDC.

It emerged this week that retired Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai has thrown his weight behind Zvobgo, who also enjoys the support of the new Masvingo South MP Walter Mzembi and national commissar Elliot Manyika.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week heard that the party’s commissariat had started distributing party cards in Masvingo town without the involvement of Shumba’s executive. Sources said Shumba viewed this as a ploy to undermine his authority ahead of primary elections.

Yesterday Shumba said the distribution of cards was meant to make “certain people vote against him” in the primary election for the constituency.

“I am reliably informed that there are cards being distributed to people who are ganging up against me,” said Shumba. “This is being done outside official lines because all cards should be distributed through the provincial executive.” Only card-carrying members are eligible to vote in the primaries.

Pressed on to divulge who was distributing the cards and where they were coming from, Shumba said he did not want to assassinate characters.

“Obviously party cards are not printed in Masvingo. They are printed in Harare and distributed by the commissariat,” he said.

“They have to be distributed by the provincial executive. I will follow the party line in correcting that.”

Shumba said he would still win the primary election anyway.

Meanwhile, battles for constituencies have intensified in Zanu PF where an average of three candidates have shown an interest in a single seat.

A record-breaking four candidates have registered their interest to contest in Mhondoro, Makoni West and Mazowe West.

In Mhondoro, former legislator Mavis Chidzonga, Mashonaland West party vice-chairman John Mafa, businessman Sylvester Nguni and Chamu Mutyambizi are campaigning for a ticket to represent Zanu PF in the 2005 parliamentary election.

In Makoni West, sitting MP Gibson Munyoro is under immense pressure. Five candidates – Agriculture minister Joseph Made, singer Chinx Chingaira, Nation Madongorere, David Jura and one Musendo – are fighting for the seat.

Sources told the Independent this week that campaigning for the Mhondoro seat had intensified and Nguni had allegedly injected over $50 million to fund his campaign.

The Independent also heard this week that there were plans to relieve Philip Chiyangwa of his provincial chairmanship in Mashonaland West ahead of the congress in December.

Chiyangwa belongs to the so-called “Net*One” camp that has Ignatious Chombo, Edna Madzongwe, Bright Matonga and Sylvester Nguni.

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