HARARE – Another dogfight is brewing in the warring Zanu PF as aspiring MPs are already campaigning, even in constituencies held by their colleagues, despite calls by party bigwigs to wait for primary elections.
While under normal circumstances aspiring parliamentary and local government candidates are supposed to start canvassing for votes after a directive from the Zanu PF politburo, sitting MPs are already complaining that party cadres eyeing their constituencies have already hit the ground running.
Yesterday, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, warned those who had started campaigning to cease doing so as the party had not set the criteria for selecting candidates yet.
“Campaigns enable us as politicians to be known and voted for….but for now, stop it,” he was quoted as saying by the State media.
However, MPs who spoke to the Daily News said the rival Generation 40 (G40) and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste were already positioning their preferred candidates for each constituency.
“There are comrades who have not heeded calls by the national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, that people should desist from campaigning in other people’s constituencies and it’s confusing supporters,” Maramba Pfungwe legislator, Washington Musvaire, complained yesterday.
“Sadly, some of them, especially in my constituency for example Godfrey Chikono and Kenneth Mutiwekuziva, are provincial executive members yet they are showing traits of indiscipline, something which the national PC has been preaching against because it divides the party unnecessarily,” he grumbled.
“There are also others who include Paul Karimazondo who has been active on the ground campaigning against me while Chikono uses his position as administrator in the party constituency office to make sure I am sidelined from attending important meetings where he advances his interests,” Musvaire went on.
The elections are important because senators and MPs who would have won the Zanu PF internal elections stand a good chance of not only being appointed into Cabinet, but also becoming part of the party’s decision making organs, the presidium, the politburo and the central committee.
Instead of counting on Mugabe’s benevolence, Zanu PF hawks would want to secure positions in the bicameral Parliament to enable them to gun for other senior appointments from there.
While Mugabe singularly appoints members of the politburo and central committee, the soon-to-be 93 years old is known to draw the bulk of the appointees from sitting legislators.
Therefore, numerous political careers now hinge on these primaries so much that tensions are reaching breaking point.
As far as party faithful are concerned, those who shall be elected to represent the revolutionary party during the next general elections might become the party’s aspiring next generation of bigwigs.
In other words, these primary elections could be the waterloo for many because the results will roughly indicate the ‘Who is who’ in the party’s next generation of political power brokers.
So bad is the situation that Kasukuwere was forced to announce last week that Zanu PF had not yet directed aspiring candidates to campaign.
“Some people are already moving into consistencies where there are incumbents with some freebies campaigning. Please stop that,” Kasukuwere said.
“You will be told when the time to campaign comes. The incumbents are still there, so please support them, don’t disturb them”.
Some of the incumbent legislators in Mashonaland East Province, who have fallen victim to the pre-mature campaigns, include Simbaneuta Mudarikwa whose Uzumba constituency is being reportedly eyed by Jerry Gotora, Joseph Kandemiri and one Gwashavanhu.
In Marondera West, Provincial minister Ambrose Mutinhiri is under pressure from Foster Gwanzura and Spiwe Mukunyaidze while Chikomba Central’s Felix Mhona is under threat from provincial chairperson Bernard Makokove, who is allegedly campaigning in the constituency.
On the other hand, Muzarabani South’s Christopher Chitindi is battling with Tapera Size, while Shamva South MP, Joseph Mapiki risks losing his constituency to either Sydney Chiwara or one Nyamadzawo.
In Masvingo, businessman-cum-musician Energy Mutodi is said to be giving provincial political commissar, Jeppy Jaboon, sleepless nights over Bikita South constituency while former deputy Health minister Paul Chimedza’s position in Gutu South is under threat form Noel Mandebvu.