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Power struggles erupt as primaries loom

Augustine Mukaro/Gift Phiri

FIERCE power struggles have erupted in the ruling Zanu PF between sitting MPs and aspiring candidates for the 2005 parliamentary election, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week


The battles were reignited by President Robert Mugabe’s recent announcement that Zanu PF would field only candidates chosen through primary elections and not “consensus” endorsements.

Highly-placed sources said primary elections were scheduled for October.

The sources said Zanu PF would be holding primary elections in more than 20 constituencies after allegations of poor performance against many sitting MPs.

“The electorate lost faith in a number of sitting MPs when they were either implicated or taken to the courts on allegations of corruption,” a source said.

The sources say there are a number of potential clashes looming over the primary elections.

Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo is expected to take on Information minister Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho.

Ministers Stan Mudenge and Paul Mangwana have accused aspiring candidates in their constituencies, Masvingo North and Kadoma East respectively, of using dirty tricks in their campaigns.

Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, who initially wanted Masvingo Central, is now gunning for Mudenge’s seat, while Zupco chief Bright Matonga is interested in Mangwana’s constituency.

Former ZBC’s Bulawayo bureau chief Makhosini Hlongwane wants to wrestle Mberengwa East from Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Rugare Gumbo.

Zanu PF chief whip and Mberengwa West MP Jorum Gumbo confirmed the candidacy of Hlongwane in the Midlands constituency but could not give details, referring all questions to the incumbent Mberengwa East MP.

Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa is also under threat from businessman MacDonald Chapfika, younger brother of Mutoko North MP David Chapfika.

Chiyangwa’s recent clash with Makonde MP Kindness Paradza has increased the threat to his grip on Chinhoyi.

Sources say Paradza could also face stiff competition in Makonde from Leo Mugabe whom he defeated last year.

Mugabe has already declared his intention to try his luck again. But Paradza has been mobilising resistance.

There are constituencies where sitting MPs have either been ousted or indicated that they would not be standing for reelection.

Mazowe West MP Chris Kuruneri could be replaced as he is currently in remand prison on allegations of externalising foreign currency.

In Gutu South, incumbent MP Shuvai Mahofa is understood to be eyeing Chivi South where she is likely to face Charles Majange. Mahofa however dismissed links to Chivi South, insisting that she will be standing in Gutu South.

“I am contesting in Gutu South,” Mahofa said. “I won’t stand anywhere else as a candidate except my current constituency because that is my home area.”

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