GLOVES are off in Midlands as the Zanu PF faction loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to sponsor candidates to contest against three ministers who defected from the camp in the party’s primary elections ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Zanu PF sources from the province said this week potential candidates were already on the ground campaigning to dislodge Makhosini Hlongwane, Tapiwa Matangaidze and Annastacia Ndlovu, who now are part of the G40 Camp.
Hlongwane is minister of Sport and Recreation, while Ndlovu is the deputy minister of Tourism and Matangaidze deputy Labour minister.
The three last year wrote a letter to Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko complaining about harassment at the hands of Mnangagwa’s backers.
“They will learn a good lesson that you do not desert your province and dine with enemies,” a provincial Zanu PF leader said.
“They won in 2013 because the province was behind them and now we are taking away that support; exposing them to the harsh world of stiff competition.
“Ndlovu was helped by us as vehicles were deployed in her constituency, so was Matangaidze who could have lost in the primaries.
“Some senior officials spent their time in Mberengwa campaigning for Makhosini and now he behaves as if he won it alone. It will not be an easy walk in 2018.”
Zanu PF sources in Mberengwa said retired Major Godwell Shiri was campaigning to take over Hlongwane’s seat.
“Retired Major Shiri has been visiting schools and attended some functions were he has been denouncing Makhosini,” the source said adding: “He is a former soldier and has the support of the military.”
Midlands province wants the ministers suspended accusing them of filing false harassment charges against fellow party members in a bid to portray themselves as victims of the ruling party’s vicious factional fights.
Provincial leaders are also angry that the three by-passed the regional leadership and reported their grievances directly to Kasukuwere.
“They made two fatal mistakes. The first was a clear disregard of party constitution, which, as senior members, they are expected to follow religiously. Secondly, they wrote one letter of complaint as if their circumstances were the same. This was a clear case of collusion and manufactured charges, hence the need to deal with them,” the provincial leader said.