By Costa Nkomo
PATRICK Chinamasa, the Zanu PF secretary for finance, has been appointed acting political commissar as the governing party prepares for the 2023 national elections.
The outspoken politician takes over from Victor Matemadanda.
Matemadanda, who is also the Deputy Defence Minister and Gokwe Central MP, is set for reappointment as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Mozambique.
The ambassadorial post became vacant in February this year following the death of Douglas Nyikayaramba who succumbed to Covid-19 and was interred at the National Heroes Acre.
Chinamasa’s appointment was announced Wednesday by Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo.
The former finance minister served the better part of 2020 as the ruling party’s acting spokesperson as the incumbent SK Moyo battled ill-health.
Since the removal of self-exiled Saviour Kasukuwere as Zanu PF political commissar in November 2017, no politician has been at the helm of the post for longer periods.
After the removal of Kasukuwere, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Elbert Rugeje, but removed him in May 2019, replacing him with Matemadanda.
Rugeje was accused of presiding over chaotic Zanu PF primary elections ahead of the crucial 2018 national elections, which Mnangagwa won narrowly against Nelson Chamisa, the MDC Alliance presidential candidate.
In the 2018 elections, several Zanu PF officials also defied party orders and stood as independent parliamentary candidates after losing in primary elections resulting in the defeat of the party in some constituencies due to a split in votes.
During his time as political commissar, Matemadanda was also accused of failing to organise and manage the December 2020 district coordinating committee elections held across the country.
The elections were marred with violence, vote-buying, and serious factional divisions.
Chinamasa’s appointment comes when Zanu PF is on an ambitious national recruitment drive to reach five million supporters ahead of the 2023 elections where Mnangagwa is again expected to face stiff challenge from MDC Alliance’s Chamisa.