Masvingo poll: Factions fight

Source: Masvingo poll: Factions fight – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      5 May 2017

HARARE – Regional Zanu PF elections to choose a substantive chairperson
for the volatile Masvingo Province have been thrown into disarray after
one of the candidates, Mutero Masanganise, pulled out of the race
yesterday claiming that the poll had not been sanctioned by the politburo.

Masanganise is said to be aligned to the ruling party’s Generation 40
(G40) faction, which is bitterly opposed to Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this week, the Daily News reported accurately that beleaguered G40
bigwigs had enlisted the services of a shadowy group known as “Province
2017”, as they desperately sought to have tomorrow’s crucial plebiscite

“We had agreed there were supposed to be reforms, after irregularities
were detected when we first attempted to hold the elections, leading the
politburo to give a directive to that effect.

“But I was surprised to suddenly hear that there will be elections
tomorrow, even when we have not been given the go-ahead by the organ that
stopped us in the first place.

“I do not know where that is coming from given that the politburo has not
met since it gave us the previous directive, and I expected that we would
be favoured with a written communication by the politburo to say we are
done with reforms and elections can now go ahead.

“But that has not happened, meaning that nobody has been given the
green-light to go ahead.

“I have since written to the secretary for administration (Ignatius
Chombo) to seek clarity on the matter, but I am yet to receive a response.
So, I will not participate in an election that has not been sanctioned by
the politburo.

“My action must not be interpreted as a withdrawal, but rather as a
refusal to participate in an illegal election,” Masanganise told the Daily
News yesterday.

However, politburo member and acting Masvingo chairman, Joram Gumbo,
dismissed Masanganise’s claims as “hollow”, and vowed to press ahead with
the elections.

“I don’t know which leadership they follow. I am a member of the politburo
and I don’t send myself to do work.

“I was told by the PB (politburo), to go and conduct a re-run of the
inconclusive elections and I read a letter from the secretary for
administration (Chombo) to that effect in our last PCC (provincial
coordination committee),” Gumbo said.

“This is not about me, but about the appointing authority who is the
president … and Zanu PF cadres who are genuine will listen to that.

“Those that are not Zanu PF will not participate because they are not
members of the revolutionary party. We cannot force them to be.

“I am leading a team in which I am deputised by Cain Mathema (Matabeleland
North Provincial Affairs minister) and which also has seven central
committee members from other provinces who will be helping us in various
districts,” Gumbo added.

Emotions have been running high in the fractious province ever since
Mugabe and the politburo nullified the results from the initial regional
poll, which was won by Masanganise’s rival – Ezra Chadzamira – amid claims
of irregularities, including people not voting in some districts.

Chadzamira, who is the former regional chairman and an alleged Mnangagwa
backer, crushed Masanganise then – polling 12 393 votes against his
opponent’s 4 888, amid the allegations of rigging and failure by people in
Mwenezi and some parts of Chiredzi to vote.

The politburo later nullified the result and ordered a re-run, to allow
districts that had not voted a chance to cast their votes.

This week the G40 made stunning claims that military and intelligence
personnel were allegedly campaigning for Chadzamira, amid growing tension
in the volatile province.

As a counter-strategy, the G40 was said to have been operating through
“Province 2017”, which was sending messages to Zanu PF supporters in the
province via social media, warning them not to vote tomorrow, unless the
politburo addressed their grievances.

Chadzamira is said to be a favourite to win tomorrow’s election, a move
which insiders said  would put party bigwigs in a bind, as he has an
uneasy relationship with `Shake-Shake House’ (Zanu PF headquarters), after
he was suspended last year on untested charges of indiscipline, inciting
insolence and engaging in violence within the warring ruling party.

The G40 has for some time now been described as being “at sixes and
sevens”, following the pressure that has been brought to bear on its
leading national figures, as well as the suspension of its alleged
provincial kingpins who were both ousted from the regional executive last

Sources have also previously told the Daily News that Zanu PF’s ever-fluid
factional and succession politics were changing gear again, as there was
now an apparent realignment of alliances within the warring former
liberation movement – as Mnangagwa’s allies cranked up their assault on
the G40.