Masvingo poll: Factions fight

HARARE - Regional Zanu PF elections to choose a substantive chairperson for the volatile Masvingo Province have been thrown into disarray after one of the candidates, Mutero Masanganise, pulled out of the race yesterday claiming that the poll had not been sanctioned by the politburo.

Masanganise is said to be aligned to the ruling party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is bitterly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this week, the Daily News reported accurately that beleaguered G40 bigwigs had enlisted the services of a shadowy group known as “Province 2017”, as they desperately sought to have tomorrow’s crucial plebiscite cancelled.

“We had agreed there were supposed to be reforms, after irregularities were detected when we first attempted to hold the elections, leading the politburo to give a directive to that effect.

“But I was surprised to suddenly hear that there will be elections tomorrow, even when we have not been given the go-ahead by the organ that stopped us in the first place.

“I do not know where that is coming from given that the politburo has not met since it gave us the previous directive, and I expected that we would be favoured with a written communication by the politburo to say we are done with reforms and elections can now go ahead.

“But that has not happened, meaning that nobody has been given the green-light to go ahead.

“I have since written to the secretary for administration (Ignatius Chombo) to seek clarity on the matter, but I am yet to receive a response. So, I will not participate in an election that has not been sanctioned by the politburo.

“My action must not be interpreted as a withdrawal, but rather as a refusal to participate in an illegal election,” Masanganise told the Daily News yesterday.

However, politburo member and acting Masvingo chairman, Joram Gumbo, dismissed Masanganise’s claims as “hollow”, and vowed to press ahead with the elections.

“I don’t know which leadership they follow. I am a member of the politburo and I don’t send myself to do work.

“I was told by the PB (politburo), to go and conduct a re-run of the inconclusive elections and I read a letter from the secretary for administration (Chombo) to that effect in our last PCC (provincial coordination committee),” Gumbo said.

“This is not about me, but about the appointing authority who is the president ... and Zanu PF cadres who are genuine will listen to that.

“Those that are not Zanu PF will not participate because they are not members of the revolutionary party. We cannot force them to be.

“I am leading a team in which I am deputised by Cain Mathema (Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister) and which also has seven central committee members from other provinces who will be helping us in various districts,” Gumbo added.

Emotions have been running high in the fractious province ever since Mugabe and the politburo nullified the results from the initial regional poll, which was won by Masanganise’s rival — Ezra Chadzamira — amid claims of irregularities, including people not voting in some districts.

Chadzamira, who is the former regional chairman and an alleged Mnangagwa backer, crushed Masanganise then — polling 12 393 votes against his opponent’s 4 888, amid the allegations of rigging and failure by people in Mwenezi and some parts of Chiredzi to vote.

The politburo later nullified the result and ordered a re-run, to allow districts that had not voted a chance to cast their votes.

This week the G40 made stunning claims that military and intelligence personnel were allegedly campaigning for Chadzamira, amid growing tension in the volatile province.

As a counter-strategy, the G40 was said to have been operating through “Province 2017”, which was sending messages to Zanu PF supporters in the province via social media, warning them not to vote tomorrow, unless the politburo addressed their grievances.

Chadzamira is said to be a favourite to win tomorrow’s election, a move which insiders said  would put party bigwigs in a bind, as he has an uneasy relationship with ‘Shake-Shake House’ (Zanu PF headquarters), after he was suspended last year on untested charges of indiscipline, inciting insolence and engaging in violence within the warring ruling party.

The G40 has for some time now been described as being “at sixes and sevens”, following the pressure that has been brought to bear on its leading national figures, as well as the suspension of its alleged provincial kingpins who were both ousted from the regional executive last month.

Sources have also previously told the Daily News that Zanu PF’s ever-fluid factional and succession politics were changing gear again, as there was now an apparent realignment of alliances within the warring former liberation movement — as Mnangagwa’s allies cranked up their assault on the G40.

Comments (1)

Ohh, Zanu PF wants electoral reforms at their provincial election because there are "irregularities". Yet they refuse to implement reforms at national levels, reforms dictated by the Constitution of the Republic. Sad.

Sad - 5 May 2017

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