George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Masvingo West Zanu-PF House of Assembly member Cde Ezra Chadzamira has retained the ruling party chairmanship in Masvingo after he trounced war veteran Retired Colonel Mutero Masanganise in peaceful polls held on Saturday.
Cde Chadzamira polled 29 543 votes, while Rtd Col Masanganise managed a paltry 1 080. The poll had been thrown into disarray after Rtd Col Masanganise announced his withdrawal in a letter to Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo.
The letter was dated May 2 and Rtd Col Masanganise cited a number of irregularities. On Friday, Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Cain Mathema, who was appointed by the Politburo to co-supervise the polls, said the elections would go ahead.
Cde Mathema said he did not receive formal communication indicating that Rtd Col Masanganise had withdrawn from the race. He was supposed to co-supervise the poll together with fellow Politburo member Cde Joram Gumbo, who was unavailable after he lost his son.
Cde Gumbo was the acting Masvingo Zanu-PF chairman after he was appointed by the Politburo to steer the province towards fresh polls.
Cde Chadzamira and Rtd Col Masanganise were meeting for the second time following an inconclusive poll between the pair held at the end of February.
In those elections, Cde Chadzamira polled 12 393 votes against Rtd Col Masanganise’s 4 888, but the results did not stand because most areas did not vote for various reasons.
Announcing the results at the provincial command centre at Chevron Hotel yesterday morning, Cde Mathema declared Cde Chadzamira the new ruling party chairman for Masvingo province.
He hailed the peaceful conduct of voters, emphasising that ruling party supporters in Masvingo had shown that they were members of the same family. Rtd Col Masanganise was not present when Cde Mathema announced the final results, with Politburo members Cdes Lovemore Matuke and Masvingo Provincial affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa among other senior officials in attendance.
Cde Chadzamira thanked Zanu-PF members in Masvingo for showing faith in him, saying his major task was to unite the party and make sure the province remained a “one-party state” under the control of the revolutionary party.
Speaking after the announcement of the results, Cde Matuke paid tribute to President Mugabe for allowing the people of Masvingo to choose a leader of their choice.
“We want to thank our party leader President Mugabe, who is the First Secretary, for allowing the people of Masvingo to choose a leader of their choice and this development will strengthen the party as we gear for 2018 polls,’’ he said.
“Zanu-PF in Masvingo is poised for new and better things because people elected a leader of their choice and the challenge now is to foster unity in the party so that we retain all the 26 House of Assembly seats in next year’s elections.’’
Cde Matuke challenged Cde Chadzamira and his executive to start working tirelessly and deliver the aspirations of the people of Masvingo. “At the end of the day there was no individual between the two (Cde Chadzamira and Col Masanganise) who won, Zanu-PF won, the people won because they freely elected a leader of their choice, now the time is not for sloganeering, but to work so that the people of Masvingo benefit,’’ said Cde Matuke.
Cde Chadzamira had been a firm favourite to romp to victory in the poll after war veterans in the province declared that they were going to rally behind him because he was the people’s choice.
Cde Chadzamira once served as Zanu-PF Masvingo chair and was suspended from his post by national political commissar Cde Savour Kasukuwere for alleged insolence.
He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Zanu-PF National Disciplinary Committee and allowed to contest for the post.