Chipangano leader Kunaka eyes Mbare seat

HARARE - Zanu PF suspected Chipangano leader Jim Kunaka, has elbowed politburo member Tendai Savanhu from the Mbare Constituency where the former ruling party is already sensing victory.

Zanu PF has rolled out a plot, not only in Mbare but, in all urban settings across the country, where party functionaries are forcing people to register and subsequently buy the party’s membership cards.

In Mbare, Chipangano which controls lucrative market stalls and other business conduits is wooing potential voters, not resident in the old suburb, by doling out stalls.

Insiders told the Daily News that Kunaka, whose influence stretches in the teeming location has now grown bigger than Savanhu, the alleged sponsor of the vigilante outfit which has been terrorising citizens with impunity for the past five years.

Savanhu, an ex-Zanu PF MP, has tried in vain to wrestle the seat from the MDC since 2000.

In the 2008 harmonised elections Savanhu lost the elections to mainstream MDC’s Piniel Denga.

But Kunaka says he is the real game changer since he has been able to cover the whole constituency and “would not refuse a nomination from the people to stand as an MP come elections”.

“We have covered ground in Mbare and we expect to get back the seat. Our structures are now intact as compared to 2008. We are not talking about things on paper, but a real head count will show you that we have the masses to win the constituency.

“If people who are in our structures go and vote then we will win the elections,” said Kunaka, a former general hand for the city of Harare.

Savanhu is among the first heavyweights who are facing a stiff challenge from so-called young Turks.

Notwithstanding the fact that Savanhu has invested so much in the constituency, he has been a periodic loser in successive elections since 2008 and has failed to dislodge the MDC stronghold.

However, Kunaka says he has the keys to get Mbare for Zanu PF.

“I am not going to impose myself on the people but will let them speak on their own. Let them choose and I will stand for the people,” said Kunaka.

Asked about the fate of Savanhu, Kunaka said: “Mbare has two constituencies and we are fully behind him. We are going to give him the other side,” said Kunaka.

Mbare Constituency covers areas that include Magaba, Jo’burg Lines, Matererini Flats, Matapi Flats, Chishawasha Flats, Mbare Flats, Nenyere Flats, and the main bus terminus up to Rufaro Stadium.

Kunaka is eyeing Mbare Constituency and says Savanhu can take Southerton Constituency which is in the hands of deputy minister of Mines and Mineral Development, MDC’s Gift Chimanikire.

There is a dog eat dog in the ex-majority party with the politburo yet to announce dates for primary elections, amid fears that the party that is riddled with factions would disintegrate ahead of crucial elections if heavyweights lose to so-called young Turks.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, told the State media last week that the politburo, the party’s highest decision body outside Congress, would discuss dates for primary elections.

While the MDC has already received names for potential candidates going towards synchronised polls Mugabe’s party says the party’s primaries will be held after a referendum that is pencilled for March 16.

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