Primaries: Zanu PF bigwigs set to fall

AFTER many months of haggling over primary elections guidelines, Zanu PF is likely to plunge into further turmoil as its bigwigs face stiff challenges in the internal polls set to be held in a single day.

Report by Brian Chitemba

The politburo held meetings on Wednesday and Thursday to finalise contentious primary elections guidelines as it prepares for the plebiscite President Robert Mugabe wants held before July 31 as ordered by a recent constitutional court ruling.

The primaries present faction-riddled Zanu PF with serious challenges as senior party officials have to prove their mettle against ‘young turks’, police officers and CIO operatives.

Like in the MDC-T where sitting MPs fell by the wayside during the primaries which are yet to be finalised, the same bloodbath is expected in sharply divided Zanu PF when party members vote for their representatives in imminent crucial polls.

In Manicaland, outspoken Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa will be challenged by Women’s Affairs ministry director Christopher Chingosho for the Headlands constituency.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, said to be a close ally of Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, will battle it out with Arda chairman Basil Nyabadza — a Vice-President Joice Mujuru associate — in Makoni Central, while Manicaland governor Christopher Mushohwe squares off against businessman Jonathan Kadzura in Mutare West.

Journalist-cum-businessman Supa Mandiwanzira will have to beat ZBC general manager finance, retired Brigadier-General Elliot Kasu for the right to stand in Nyanga South, whereas Agriculture minister Joseph Made will not go unchallenged in Makoni West which youth league member Kudzie Chipanga is vying for.

There is a battle of senior policemen in Buhera West where Assistant Commissioner Oliver Mandipaka fights it out with his boss, Senior Assistant Commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa, while drama is expected in Makoni South where Senator Monica Mutsvangwa contests Nyasha Chikwinya and six others. In Chamanimani East, battle lines are drawn between Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Deputy minister Samuel Undenge and youth league official Joshua Sacco.

Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri, politburo member Kumbirai Kangai and retired Major-General Mike Nyambuya are said to be eyeing senatorial seats decided through proportional representation, while ousted provincial chairman Mike Madiro is said to be contemplating standing as an independent candidate. A staggering 15 politicians are eyeing Mutare North.

Elsewhere in Zvimba North, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is having sleepless nights plotting to save his constituency from ex-wife Marian, and close Mugabe relative Edwin Matibiri. Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo locks horns with his nemesis, CIO operative Francis Mukwangwariwa in Zvimba East.

In the politically volatile Epworth constituency, former Mines minister and Zanu PF Harare provincial chairman Amos Midzi faces a challenge from Coxwell Chigwanha, who claims he was chosen by the people to challenge the ex-diplomat.

A group of young turks challenging the old guard has also stirred a storm in the former liberation movement with Affirmative Action Group’s Chamu Chiwanza eyeing the Mabvuku constituency, which is also targeted by Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa.

Danny Kasukuwere, younger brother to Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, is challenging businessman Kenneth Musanhi while another Kasukuwere brother, Tongai, is said to be eyeing Mt Darwin East constituency.

Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafiosi, is facing competition in Mt Darwin North from a police officer only identified as Superintendent Muponora.

In Bindura South, businesswoman Verna Madake will battle it out with farmer Remigio Matangira while Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha is eyeing one of the two Bindura constituencies.

In Chinhoyi, businessman Phillip Chiyangwa will contest for the Chinhoyi seat after benefiting from the relaxation of party regulations stating that only those with a minimum five-year membership in the party should contest. Chiyangwa was only re-admitted into the party over a year ago.

Fireworks are expected in Masvingo South where Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi is being challenged by serving CIO operative Lesley Humbe and Colonel Phillip Toperesu, a serving member of the Zimbabwe National Army. Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana is set to fight it out with Ephraim Gwanongodza for Chivi Central in the party’s primaries, while Tongai Muzenda fights it out with Masvingo chairperson Lovemore Matuke.

Zimpapers chairperson Paul Chimedza is interested in the Gutu North seat. Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe senior employee Munyaradzi Kereke and musician Elias Musakwa are gunning for Bikita West. Eddison Zvobgo (jnr) is wrestling Edmund Mhere for the Masvingo Central seat.

Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke and retired Brigadier-General Callisto Gwanetsa want senatorial seats while retired Brigadier- General Livingstone Chineka, a former Zaka East parliamentary representative, is also said to be interested in representing Zanu PF on the Zaka Senate seat.

In Matabeleland, Mines minister Obert Mpofu’s brother Bekithemba Mpofu is vigorously campaigning for the Hwange West constituency.

Politburo member Eunice Sandi-Moyo is said to be eyeing one of the urban constituencies in Bulawayo.

Public Service deputy minister Andrew Langa is battling to protect his Insiza North seat from Patrick Hove’s challenge. Former Information and Publicity minister Politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who has lost the previous three parliamentary polls from 2000, is campaigning in Mpopoma where he has been regularly donating an assortment of goodies since the beginning of 2012.

Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi and his wife Tambudzani are also campaigning to keep their Beitbridge seats. Kembo is the Beitbridge MP while Tambudzani holds the senate seat.