…as party chair drops bombshell to aspiring candidates
By Clayton Shereni

File Picture ofZanu PF Supporters

In a development which may fuel factionalism in Masvingo, some heavily
funded Zanu PF members have started campaigning ahead of 2023 polls in
the guise of sporting events in Masvingo Urban, a traditional
opposition stronghold.
Of-late some influential individuals have been allegedly trying to
forge alliances with some of the party’s top leadership in the
province promising to wrestle the constituency away from the
This development comes at a time the ruling party was heavily defeated
by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in the March 26 by-elections
for the four Masvingo Urban wards which were up for grabs.
Internal sources have, however, revealed that tempers are starting to
rise again as two main factions which have been warring since the
provincial elections are set to renew rivalry.
Masvingo Deputy Mayor and Ward 6 Councilor, Wellington Mahwende
recently introduced a sports tournament where teams from the ten urban
wards are tussling for prize money and silverware.
The multidisciplinary sports competition is dubbed ‘ED Cup Sports
Tournament’ in honor of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In an interview, Mahwende who is allegedly loyal to Mavhenyengwa
faction, told Centre News that so far he is campaigning for the
President and if chance presents itself in 2023, he can consider
running for the parliamentary seat since he is a politician.
“We are campaigning for the President because he is the only one we
are allowed to campaign for anytime. Even the Chairman (Mavhenyengwa)
and Minister Chadzamira also pledged money towards the tournament
because we are actually campaigning for the party.
“I am a politician and currently Masvingo Deputy Mayor so as of 2023
we shall see whether I choose to contest or not, we can’t talk of that
now but some people can get excited and start speaking whatever they
like but we work with what’s on the ground,” said Mahwende.
He has reportedly fallen out of favour in ward 6 for turning a blind
eye to the Ward after being voted into office and is now shifting
focus to the parliamentary seat.
It is alleged that he is being de-campaigned by a group of youths who
dub themselves ‘Magamba’ and were instrumental in getting him elected
councilor for the ward in 2018.
Mahwende who is a land baron in the sprawling suburb of Victoria Ranch
is, however, banking on his strong financial muscle to get the nod
ahead of would be rivals when the party holds primary elections.
Some of the strategic meetings supposedly for the ED tournament are
being held at a lodge owned by losing Zanu PF Ward 3 candidate,
Tawurayi Mudzwiti in Target Kopje and are being attended to by various
ruling party cadres.
Another candidate with a strong financial backing, James Pande who
owns a company called Big Deal has surfaced and is also eyeing the
same constituency.
The youthful businessman sponsored the Masvingo Independence Cup which
pitted Masvingo United and Northern Region pacesetters Simba Bhora FC
on April 18.
Pande who is now based in Harare poured in US$1500 in prize money,
bought new kits for both sides, medals and trophies.
He is said to be Minister Ezra Chadzamira’s preferred candidate ahead
of the 2023 general elections, a development which may lead to another
heated factional war as some party members are alleging that Pande is
just a mere ‘visitor’ in the constituency.
Shamva based gold dealer, Simba Ndoro who bankrolls Simba Bhora also
graced the Independence celebrations at Mucheke Stadium.
Pande who was travelling in a convoy of Top of Range vehicles paraded
high density suburbs together with the Simba Bhora squad, in a move
meant to announce his return to the province where he grew up in and
did his primary and secondary education.
He told this publication that he is more than willing to represent the
ruling party in the 2023 elections so as to bring opportunities to
young people in the constituency.
“I would like to represent the ruling party in 2023 so that I also
give a voice to the youth. Youths must also benefit so we have lined
up some projects starting from grassroots targeting mostly the poor,”
said Pande.
Taguma Mazarire who has various business interests in the province
hasn’t publicly declared his interests despite calls by other party
bigwigs for him to contest since he was their candidate in 2018.
Mazarire who lost to MDC-Alliance’s 2018 candidate Jacob Nyokanhete on
Election Day is keeping cards close to his chest as the political
ground takes shape.
Former MDC legislator for the same constituency, Tongai Matutu who
ditched the opposition for Zanu PF is also another option at hand as
he is reportedly claiming to have sympathizers from the opposition
Matutu has become a heavy critic of opposition party leaders including
CCC presidium which he alleges are agents of regime change agenda bank
rolled by the West.
However, his claims have been viewed by some as a case of bitterness
after he was disqualified to run for the party’s provincial
chairperson post in 2019 at an MDC-Alliance congress at Masvingo
Sports Club.
Zanu PF Masvingo Provincial chairperson, Robson Mavhenyengwa said no
one should campaign for any post and reprimanded everyone who was
vying for any post from campaigning.
“No one is allowed to campaign for any position but we are all
campaigning for President Mnangagwa. I will tell everyone who is
campaigning to stop forthwith,” Mavhenyengwa said.
He, however, downplayed issues of factionalism saying that those vying
for any position will be allowed to campaign as directed by the party
and that only the shadow MP is recognized in the constituency.
“I am sure there won’t be any issues of factionalism because we are
united as a party and when the national leadership directs us to hold
primary elections we will do so peacefully. For now, we have our
shadow MP who is working in the constituency,” Mavhenyengwa added.
Zanu PF early this year was rocked by a massive factionalism war over
the party’s control in the province.
The battle saw the rise of Zaka North legislator Robson Mavhenyengwa
to the post of provincial chairperson replacing Chadzamira.