Battle for Goromonzi gets dirty

HARARE - Flamboyant rhumba and sungura musician Energy Mutodi has claimed he is being intimidated and threatened for bidding to stand on a Zanu PF ticket in Goromonzi constituency.

On Saturday, the Chigorodanda hit-maker claimed two men threatened to force their way into his Charlotte Brooke home demanding to see him or his wife, warning him that he was in grave danger.

“They threatened my security guard and said to him muchamunzwira tsitsi (you will pity him),” Mutodi said.

The two men visited Mutodi’s home just after he had been tipped-off that he was “a marked man” and that his bid to depose Beater Nyamupinga — a powerful member of the Women Parliamentary Caucus — had courted the ire of senior officials.

Mutodi claimed the two “heavily-built” men arrived at his home a day after provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde blasted the businessman-cum-politician at a belated 21st February Movement celebration held at Domboshawa Showgrounds in Goromonzi on Friday.

Mutodi said Kaukonde told the gathering that the musician was putting the horse before the cart by campaigning to stand in Goromonzi.

Kaukonde reportedly took a swipe at Mutodi for jostling for a higher post without following party channels.

Kaukonde said he had nothing to do with the men who allegedly visited Mutodi.

“If I had sent them, would he still be walking on this earth? Besides, is he in the party structures?

“Primary elections are not yet there, an appropriate announcement will be made through the papers,” Kaukonde told the Daily News yesterday.

Asked if he was opposed to Mutodi’s candidacy, Kaukonde said the people of Goromonzi will decide. He said the provincial chairperson will not impose candidates, and that everyone in the party structures who met the minimum entry qualifications outlined by the party will be allowed to stand.

Kaukonde said he implored aspiring legislators to respect the incumbent MPs, and to wait for the primary elections.

He added that he asked Mutodi’s campaigner, a district chairperson named Rwafa, to wait for the primary polls, and denied sending men to intimidate Mutodi at his house after the meeting.

The alleged threats set the stage for a bitter Zanu PF primary election battle between Mutodi, incumbent Nyamupinga, and Boniface Mutizi,  a former district coordinating committee chairperson.

Mutodi said the intimidation tactics belong in jackboot banana republics and not in a constitutional democracy such as Zimbabwe.

“It seems that there are some who are taking this intimidation to a more sinister and dangerous level,” Mutodi said.

He said the conduct concerned is not only unacceptable, it’s outrageous.

Mutodi called for swift and decisive action against those involved and said the threats could not be allowed to continue unchallenged.

Mutodi has parlayed his star power and enormous popularity with the youth in the area into a solid electoral bid.

The musician, author and property developer faces an even much bigger task if he wins the Zanu PF primaries, as he is set to square off with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s top aide Ian Makone, who is eyeing the same constituency.

Everyone vying for this seat has the resources, and Mutodi, who is also an author of A-level Geography books, told the Daily News the human suffering he has witnessed in his area had motivated him to make a bid for the leadership and alleged senior leadership were trying to scuttle his bid.

“There is a clique trying to subvert the will of the people through direct imposition of candidates,” he said.

“But the people have said they want an MP who will bring development, stop the spread of diseases and poverty.”

He hopes to leverage his popularity in music for political benefit. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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