GLOVES are off in Zanu PF as a number of political heavyweights face stiff challenges in primaries set for Monday. The primaries are certain to provide a litmus test for the heavily divided party ahead of impending crucial general elections.
Report by Owen Gagare
Although some party bigwigs managed to be nominated unchallenged, a number of bruising battles, some of which are drawn on factional lines, have added interest to the internal polls.
Headlining the clashes will be the battle between Zanu PF political commissar and Information minister Webster Shamu and Mashonaland West chairman John Mafa for the Chegutu West constituency.
Shamu is a key member of the faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru while Mafa is in the camp led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Another epic battle will pit Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, a key member of the Mujuru faction in Midlands, with former Labour minister July Moyo, one of the strategists in the Mnangagwa camp.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa will square off with Arda chairman Basil Nyabadza in Makoni Central, as the two factions size each other up in Manicaland.
Alongside women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri, Chinamasa is a key member of the Mnangagwa faction in Manicaland.
Muchinguri and Chinamasa have of late been clashing with secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, leader of the Mujuru faction in Manicaland, over political control.
Nyabadza is Mutasa’s ally.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made will compete with youth league member Kudzi Chipanga, former Central Intelligence Organisation operative Nation Matongorere and Sarapiya Makuyahundi in Makoni West while Economic Planning and Investment Promotion deputy minister Samuel Undenge will battle it out with youth league official and musician Joshua Sacco.
Manicaland governor Christopher Mushohwe is squaring off with businessman Jonathan Kadzura and Maxwell Marangwanda in Mutare West.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo will battle it out with President Robert Mugabe’s close relative Edwin Matibiri in Zvimba North after his ex-wife Marian was disqualified.
Politburo member Tendai Savanhu will face Nelson Chadamoyo in Mbare.
Mashonaland East chairperson Ray Kaukonde will have to shrug off the challenge of Benard Taruvinga, Harold Mukungatu and Nelson Watyoka in Marondera Central.
The Gutu senatorial seat is being contested by former deputy minister Shuvai Mahofa, Retired Colonel Suki Masanganisa and Nelson Mahwema.
Former Information and Publicity minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is being challenged by businessman Joe Tshuma in Mpopoma.
Battle lines have also been drawn in Epworth where Amos Midzi faces Benard Mhizha and CIO operative Coxwell Chigwana.
Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni will clash with Maplot Donga to represent the party in Nkayi South, while Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi is being challenged by district war veterans’ chairman Philemon Mbedzi, Johane Ndou and Lawrence Tshili in Beitbridge East.
In Chiredzi West, provincial governor Titus Maluleke will battle it out with Bere Takunda, Darlington Chiwa, Veronica Makonese, Mavis Demba and Eustina Magocha.
The list of uncontested party heavyweights include Mujuru, national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mutasa, politburo member Jonathan Moyo, Mines minister Obert Mpofu, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Lands minster Hebert Murerwa and Women Affairs minister Olivia Muchena.
A number of women have also joined their husbands in the political fray, among them Obert Mpofu’s wife, Sikhanyisiwe who is eyeing a House of Assembly seat under the Women’s quarter, while Mnangagwa’s wife Auxilia, is eyeing the Kwekwe senatorial seat which has been reserved for a woman.
Mohadi’s wife Tambudzani is vying for the Beitbridge senatorial seat, while Shamu’s wife Constance is also eying one of the 60 seats reserved for women. The seats will be allocated to political parties through a proportional representation system.