Masvingo burns over succession

Source: Masvingo burns over succession – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      27 February 2017

HARARE – Zanu PF’s provincial election results for Masvingo, in which
previously sacked regional chairperson and alleged Team Lacoste kingpin
Ezra Chadzamira trounced Generation 40-linked (G40) bigwig Mutero
Masanganise has presented the warring ruling party with a massive headache
– what to do next.

As matters stand, President Robert Mugabe and his senior party lieutenants
are dithering about releasing the results of the poll formally – seemingly
more concerned about diffusing rising political temperatures within the
party in the volatile province, although insiders told the Daily News
yesterday that this was inadvertently also inflaming emotions further in
the process.

All this comes as Zanu PF’s two major factions have escalated their fights
ever since Mugabe gave his traditional birthday interview to the ZBC last
week, in which he rubbished all his minions’ leadership credentials and
their chances of succeeding him.

It was reported at the weekend that the G40 – which is rabidly opposed to
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions, and
which is said to be backing Masanganise – is pushing to have the results
of the Masvingo poll set aside, citing alleged rigging and other

To complicate matters, there were also unconfirmed reports that
Masanganise, a war veteran and retired army colonel, may be related to

At the same time, the insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday
suggested that Zanu PF’s ever-fluid factional dynamics could be shifting
again – with Mnangagwa’s allies, Team Lacoste, cranking up their own
assault on the G40 who have been in buoyant mood over the past few weeks.

“It (Masvingo result) speaks to an internal rebellion in Zanu PF and the
movement’s continuing implosion,” political analyst Maxwell Saungweme
chipped in.

“The election result is an early warning sign to those in Zanu PF that
once Mugabe is gone the power matrix will change. It also calls for the
G40s to rethink their strategy after Mugabe, as Mugabe’s brand will be
buried with the man,” Saungweme added.

On his part, University of Zimbabwe professor of politics Eldred
Masunungure said it was unrealistic for the G40 to hope to hold sway in

“It’s common knowledge that Masvingo is a stronghold of Team Lacoste. For
the G40, it was an ambition which was not realistic. They should have
never harboured ambitions to take control of the province.

“But I don’t think the people of Masvingo are defying Mugabe. They are
only saying that they are not swayed by the relationship between the
president and this other candidate (Masanganise),” Masunungure told the
Daily News.

In the provincial election results that became public on Thursday,
Chadzamira crushed Masanganise – polling 12 393 votes against his
opponent’s 4 888, amid allegations of rigging and failure by people in
Mwenezi and some parts of Chiredzi to vote.

But Chadzamira has an uneasy relationship with party bosses after he 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
is said to have reluctantly pulled out of last week’s race to pave the way
for Masanganise.

Zanu PF has since said that its politburo will now have to determine the
outcome of the provincial election at its next sitting, although
Masanganise wants to have the results nullified.

In a statement, Masanganise accused politburo member and presiding
officer, Joram Gumbo, of allegedly showing bias in favour of Chadzamira.

“The presiding officer displayed from the onset his bias towards a certain
candidate and has continued to canvas public opinion by going public about
a process which is yet to be concluded.

“We all wonder where the presiding officer got his 63 percent when the
whole of Mwenezi District did not vote, Chiredzi District two thirds did
not vote, in Gutu District a fragmentation of a few districts participated
with Gutu North Constituency not having a single vote.

“In Masvingo District only Masvingo urban constituency voted with an
average of two districts each having voted in the other four

“Chivi South constituency was affected by heavy rains, while there was a
circus in Zaka East constituency where the Member of Parliament was
conducting elections,” Masanganise said.

Meanwhile, Mugabe – wittingly or unwittingly – appeared to confirm at the
weekend why there is so much interest in the election of the party’s
provincial chairpersons.

Speaking at his belated birthday celebrations in Matobo on Saturday, a
tired-looking Mugabe accused his lieutenants of using their factions’
provincial chairpersons to push their succession agenda.

“Let me refer now to the unending problem of division within the party. We
want a party which is tight … The party, as I said, is based on a party
constitution and the party constitution provides how people can get
elected from one position to another.

“Izvi zvekuti vanhu vanoti vanoda kudyarana kuti vaite create
ma-chairpersons or groups dzinova-supporter ivo havambofa vakabudirira
muZanu PF (those who connive to install their own chairpersons or groups
won’t succeed in hijacking Zanu PF),” the nonagenarian warned.

Mugabe spoke as Zanu PF’s ugly tribal, factional and succession wars have
got worse over the past few weeks, with the ruling party split between
Team Lacoste and the G40 camp.

The nonagenarian also repeated on Saturday that he would neither retire
nor name a successor, unless the deeply-divided ruling party staged an
extraordinary congress to choose his successor if he decided to retire.

“If Zanu PF says I should go I will … For your own information, I never
canvassed for any position, I rose up to my position … let the people
judge for themselves … We don’t want imposition (of leaders) at all.

“People have said that I should choose a successor but that is what is
called imposition. I don’t want and will never impose. This is the job of
congress to choose those who will then come up and the party will elect.

“Whatever position you seek must be a position you get upon a proper
election by the people … People who are busy forming their own groupings
saying VaMugabe must go I ask myself where should I go,” Mugabe said.

But such statements have not gone down well with Mnangagwa’s allies, who
include sacked Mashonaland Central youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu.

Last week, they warned the increasingly frail nonagenarian that he faced a
big fight if he continued to thwart the Midlands godfather’s mooted
presidential aspirations.

Tsenengamu also said that they would now openly campaign for Mnangagwa as
Mugabe’s successor, raising the stakes high in the succession saga.

He was subsequently nabbed by detectives, a day after he held his press
conference in the capital where he let rip at Mugabe and his powerful wife

Tsenengamu has since appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts where he
was denied bail.

He is facing three charges: violating provisions of the draconian Public
Order and Security Act (Posa) for holding his press conference without
clearance, undermining the authority of the president and subverting a
constitutionally-elected government.