Source: Temper flare in Mashonaland Central | The Financial Gazette June 16, 2016
ZANU-PF party cadres in Mashonaland Central province are seething with anger over the imposition of Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha as the party’s candidate in the Mazowe North National Assembly by-election set for next month.
The seat fell vacant following the death in March of Edgar Chidavaenzi.
Previously, ZANU-PF used to have an electoral directorate which ran its internal affairs, but while the party still has that provision in its constitution it hasn’t constituted the organ since its sixth congress in December 2014.
In its absence, the commissariat department headed by Saviour Kasukuwere has been running the party’s internal elections.
This week, ZANU-PF insiders said the party’s commissariat department cancelled primary elections that were meant to choose a candidate to represent it and, in the process, imposed Dinha as the sole candidate for the July 23 poll.
The move effectively disqualified other prospective Members of Parliament after the primary poll was cancelled ahead of the sitting of the nomination court on May 27, where Dinha’s papers were accepted.
“The process was unfair. We really looked forward to this primary election and I was very much optimistic of victory. But being a loyal party member, I have accepted my fate. Life goes on,” said Campion Mugweni, one of the aspiring MPs.
Frank Mukau, another aspiring MP, whose parliamentary hopes were dashed by the imposition of Dinha said: “We were simply told that there was no primary election and that Dinha was going to represent the party. It’s disappointing.”
ZANU-PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Dickson Mafios this week said ZANU-PF had the prerogative to decide who it wanted to occupy which position without its members questioning its decisions.
“Dinha was not imposed; he was selected by the party to represent us in the by-election and no party member should be seen questioning a party decision. It has been made and it stands. It’s final,” he said.
With the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change boycotting the by-election citing an uneven electoral playing field, Dinha is widely tipped to win the by-election.
His only challenger is Elijah Malukula of the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe, led by Elton Mangoma.
Dinha has been long linked to the vacant deputy minister of legal and parliamentary affairs post and sources claim he could now be set for it.
Some in the party strongly believe should he land the vacant post at the Justice Ministry, this might create an opportunity for Mafios to replace him as Provincial Affairs Minister.
Mafios, who is brother to Kasukuwere, is currently formally unemployed after he lost the Mt Darwin East legislative seat to former finance minister Chris Kuruneri during primary elections held ahead of the 2013 plebiscite.
That prospect will further strengthen Kasukuwere’s hand in Mashonaland Central where his other brother, Tongai, is the most senior youth leader in the region.
A lawyer by profession, Dinha is currently answering to corruption charges at the High Court after he allegedly demanded a US$60 000 bribe to protect a white commercial farmer, Frank Guy Dollar, who was facing eviction from his farm.
Before he was asked to appear in court in September last year, he had claimed that he had received death threats and a bullet parcel from unnamed political foes in the province.
Mafios this week dismissed reports that he was eyeing the ministerial position.
“That’s out of order and unfounded. Kasukuwere has no power to appoint ministers. It all rests with the President. After all the decision to select Dinha was not made so that I become minister; far from it,” he retorted.
All ministerial appointments are exclusively a prerogative of the President, although he can still make consultations.
Kasukuwere is widely believed to be a key member of a faction in ZANU-PF known as Generation 40 (G40), which is allegedly fighting to forestall Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rise to country’s top job.
Mnangagwa has, until G40 came on the scene, been touted as President Robert Mugabe’s heir-apparent.