SAMUEL Undenge, the pro-Zanu PF economic analyst, has joined the struggle for the right to contest next year’s general election on a ruling-party ticket against one of the opposition’s most
popular candidates, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Highly placed sources in Manicaland said Undenge is currently attempting to wrestle Chimanimani constituency from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)’s Roy Bennett.
“Two weeks ago, Undenge accompanied by another Zanu PF supporter, Tafataona Mahoso, made a surprise appearance at the United Baptist Church (UBC) annual conference at Biriiri Secondary School in Chimanimani to launch his political career,” sources said.
UBC Bishop Joshua Nguweni Dube confirmed that Undenge and Mahoso were part of the delegation at this year’s conference.
“The two were part of the delegation,” Dube said. “We accepted their attendance of the conference because they were raised in our church by their parents in Chimanimani.”
UBC officials who attended the conference said when Undenge and Mahoso appeared everyone waited anxiously to hear what the two were up to.
“Bishop Dube, a former governor of Manicaland, introduced the two ‘doctors’ by saying ‘the learned sons of the province had come back to church’.”
“Knowing their umbilical attachment with the ruling party, church members waited for the two men to deliver confessions about their lives in their long absence,” officials said.
The officials said the two hardly attended any church sessions, but used the conference time to meet as many people as possible to announce Undenge’s intention to contest the Chimanimani parliamentary seat in 2005 on a Zanu PF ticket.
“It turned out that Undenge was using the conference as a support-sounding mission before he could come back on a campaign mission,” officials said.
Mahoso yesterday confirmed that he attended the UBC conference in Chimanimani but questioned why that would generate the interest of a newspaper.
“I attend all kinds of conferences,” Mahoso said. “I am alumini to many schools which I attended and whenever I go there I am introduced therefore this should not be an issue.”
Mahoso confirmed that Undenge also attended the UBC conference but was quick to point out it was coincidental that they were in the same place at the same time.
“We did not plan to travel together with Dr Undenge. About his political ambitions, you can ask him because we never discussed that matter,” he said.
Undenge could not be reached for comment. Dube would not confirm that Undenge would be vying for Chimanimani constituency.