Mugove Tafirenyika and Blessings Mashaya 17 March 2017
HARARE – The Zanu PF faction rallying behind Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations has vowed to crush moves by
the party enemies of the Midlands godfather to impose their candidate to
lead the key, but volatile province of Masvingo.
This comes after the Zanu PF politburo surprisingly ordered the province
on Wednesday to re-run its elections to find a substantive chairperson for
the region, which were “won” by a Team Lacoste-linked candidate last
At the same time, political analysts warned in interviews with the Daily
News yesterday that the ruling party’s seeming failure to respect its
internal democratic processes was a bad omen for the eagerly-anticipated
2018 national polls.
As had been accurately predicted by the Daily News earlier in the week,
well-placed sources said yesterday that the Zanu PF politburo had engaged
in heated discussions over the Masvingo provincial chairman’s elections
which were “won” by Ezra Chadzamira – who obliterated the Generation
40-linked Mutero Masanganise before inclement weather prevented polling in
165 districts last month.
Speaking after the politburo meeting, secretary for administration
Ignatius Chombo announced that the party had decided to run fresh
elections in the province “at a date that is yet to be discussed”.
The G40 group, which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe,
had been working furiously ahead of the meeting to have the result
nullified, while Team Lacoste favoured a decision that would allow cast
votes to stand, and for outstanding districts to complete their voting.
A miffed legislator and senior party official who is linked to Mnangagwa’s
camp told the Daily News yesterday that Team Lacoste would “throw the
kitchen sink at G40” in the planned re-run.
“Whatever the G40 does will not change anything. Initially, they didn’t
want elections because they knew they were going to lose, but when they
felt they had oiled their rigging machine they accepted elections but
“The people of Masvingo know what they want and they spoke loud and clear
in the last election. There is no doubt that they will do it again.
“The best that they (the G40) can do is to block the elections. But then
again, we have our counter-strategy. They cannot do anything here. Ngwena
ndiye baba kuno (Mnangagwa is the boss of Masvingo),” the bigwig said.
“Although we will be holding a strategy meeting next week, let me promise
you that come what may, the people of Masvingo will not fold their hands
and watch G40 and its backers impose people on the province.
“Remember our song at the end of last year’s Zanu PF conference in
Masvingo? Indeed kumagumo kunenyaya (the ending will be unexpected). That
song was meant to tell president Mugabe that the people of Masvingo are
fed up with the ongoing machinations in the party,” the official added.
However – and relieved by the politburo’s decision to annul last month’s
poll results and – a G40-linked provincial member told the Daily News that
they would not be “taking any chances” in the re-run.
“They say once beaten twice shy. There is no way we are going to relax
like we did last time. We underestimated the influence that Lacoste
(Mnangagwa) has in the province and this won’t happen again,” he said.
But another Team Lacoste official said: “They (the G40) have since hatched
a plan to make sure that the (Masvingo) commissariat department which is
led by Jeppy Jaboon goes on the ground and weed out all of ED’s
(Mnangagwa’s) sympathisers in the structures before the fresh polls.
“Make no mistake, there is going to be more chaos in the province in the
On his part, Masanganise welcomed the politburo’s directive, saying he was
ready to have a second bite at the cherry.
“I want to put on record first that I am not a factional candidate but a
Zanu PF one. That said, I want to welcome the decision to have the
elections re-run because the first one cannot be called an election as it
denied voters the chance to exercise their rights.
“I am certain that this time around, I will easily romp to victory because
I have the support,” Masanganise told the Daily News.
Although Chadzamira trounced Masanganise in the provincial poll last
month, the election was said to be inconclusive due to massive rains which
prevented voting in some districts.
However, nearly 70 percent of the ballot had been cast by the time the
rains prevented voting in 165 districts, including in both Chadzamira’s
and Masangise’s home villages.
In the released results, Chadzamira crushed Masanganise polling 12 393
votes against his opponent’s 4 888.
But as if to complicate matters further, Masanganise – a war veteran and
retired army colonel – is also said be related to Mugabe.
Chadzamira was suspended last year on charges of indiscipline and inciting
insolence, as well as engaging in violence.
He was subsequently replaced in an acting capacity by Amasi Nenjana, who
was said to have reluctantly pulled out of last month’s race to pave the
way for Masanganise.
Political analysts told the Daily News that the politburo’s Masvingo
decision was part of “continuing efforts” to frustrate Mnangagwa.
“There is no link whatsoever between the rains and the decision to re-run
the entire election. What is obvious is that the G40 were beaten hands
down by the Lacoste faction,” said political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo.
“The most reasonable thing to do would have been to allow the districts
that had not voted to do so. But we know in whose interest these decisions
are being made. It is in the interest of the `Emperor’ and his
“Zanu PF bigwigs, especially those in the Lacoste faction, are now tasting
their own medicine. While the country’s progressive movement has raised
these shenanigans time and again at the national level, such calls have
fallen on deaf ears.
“Now the shenanigans are happening closer to home. Yet, fair electoral
politics is important in both intra-party and inter-party politics,” she
Another political analyst, Dewa Mavhinga, said the manner in which Zanu PF
had managed the Masvingo affair was indicative of its attitude towards
“We have been shown a glimpse of the ruling party’s attitude to elections
and democratic processes generally . . . that they do not matter,”
Mavhinga told the Daily News.
“A subversion of electoral processes does not only occur during national
elections, it is widespread, including within Zanu PF’s internal
processes,” he added.
Analysts have previously said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s
succession riddle is fuelling the infighting which is devouring the former
The 93-year-old has studiously refused to name a successor, insisting that
the party’s congress has that mandate: to choose a person of their own
The ruling party’s two major factions have escalated their fights ever
since Mugabe gave his traditional birthday interview to the ZBC, on the
eve of his 93rd birthday last month, in which he rubbished all his
lieutenants’ leadership credentials and their chances of succeeding him.