As battle for Masvingo urban constituency hots up ahead of primaries

Centre News Reporter.

A war of words against bitter rivals , James Pande and Wellington Mahwende has erupted ahead of Zanu PF primary elections to choose Masvingo Urban constituency candidate Saturday, with the former accusing the later as Midlander who grew up in Gweru, while  the later accuses the former as an absentee leader who stay in Harare.

 The two traded barbs as Pande took to the war to social media where he is decampaigning Mahwende by claiming that he is from Mkoba 1 in Gweru so voters should not vote for him.

“I was born & bred in MASVINGO with a brave heart ♥ & I will not surrender until we take back MASVINGO URBAN CONSTITUENCY. My rival is from MKOBA 1 GWERU so the people of MASVINGO will decide. My dear supporters don’t listen to lies being fabricated on social media.Hoyoooooo (SIC), “said wrote Pande on his Face Book wall.

Mahwende hit back in an interview with Centre News saying he was not moved by that,  as he has been a permanent  resident of Masvingo city for the past two decades,  while his rival has been absent from the city since he left as a teenager over the same period.

“I am not moved by those baseless claims, the fact that my CV has been accepted by the party leadership serves as pure testimony that I can represent our party well in this capacity. However the issue of where one is born does not matter but the issue of where one has been residing over the past 20 years counts. Some of us have been here in the city while others are still staying in Harare and want to be vocal,” said Mahwende.

He added that residents have since shown trust in his leadership by voting him as a councilor for ward 6 and subsequently as the city’s deputy Mayor.

The war also spilled to the two rivals’ supporters. Mahwende’s fans pounced on Pande, describing him as an absentee leader who left Masvingo in 1999.

“This Masvingo Christian High lower 6 drop out should shut the hell up. He left the city when he was a teenager and only came back here last year to contest. Even though he was born here but many people especially the ama2000 youth doesn’t know him, some elders have also forgotten him,” said of the deputy Mayor’s Campaign member only identified as Major Murefu.

Some Pande fans defended their candidate saying he deserves votes because he did not migrate from another province as he was born and went school in the province.

The argument was ruthlessly crashed by Mahwende supporters who accused their rivals of playing the regional card against the policies of their party.