Zanu PF Bigwigs Square Off In Cutthroat Provincial Polls

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By James Muonwa

THE stage is now set for veritable battles of supremacy among top Zanu PF officials across the country following the invitation of CVs from prospective candidates.

The elections were supposed to have been held in October but were shelved after they cause a fierce factional firestorm as officials engaged in a vicious tussle for supremacy.

Zanu PF national political commissar Mike Bimha Wednesday told the media in Harare, the party was calling for CVs for aspiring provincial chairpersons, and those vying for others post in the provincial executive.

He did not specify when the elections will be held.

“Those aspiring for provincial chairmen, provincial chairwomen and provincial youth chairpersons’ posts must submit their CV (curriculum vitae) to their respective provinces by 17 December 2021. Those aspiring candidates who wish to occupy other provincial executive positions must also submit their CVs to their provinces by 17December 2021,” Bimha said.

The political commissar assured members that Zanu PF was now geared to finalise the provincial polls in due course, and all provinces were advised to adhere to the set guidelines and parameters.

“We have now put a framework to guide these elections and it is our hope that by Sunday December 19, all provinces would have completed districts so that we are ready for provincial elections,” he said.

“We are going to deploy Politburo members who will convene provincial coordinating committees (PCCs) on either Saturday 18 or Sunday 19 December 2021 collect CVs and lists of DCC and outgoing provincial executives for submission on Party Headquarters Monday December 20, 2021,” he added.

He said all aspiring youth candidates must be 35 years and below, while provinces should be assigned to supervise other provinces to ensure free and fair elections.

“No province will supervise its own elections. All provinces must submit the list of all polling stations by Sunday 19 December that is each party district must have one polling station. All members who are going to vote and participate must be fully paid up party members. Members are free to participate as candidates and there is no room for imposition.”

The impending internal elections had generated huge interest from Zanu PF members, which is a demonstration that the former revolutionary party was alive, strong and ready for any elections at any level, anytime, Bimha said.

In Mashonaland West, Provincial Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza, incumbent acting chairman Abia Mujeri and youth provincial chairman Vengi Musengi are vying for the provincial chairmanship left vacant following the elevation of Justice minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi to the Politburo in June.

In Mashonaland Central, the fight is on pitting incumbent chairman, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe boss Tafadzwa Musarara and tycoon James Makamba.

Former Education minister Lazarus Dokora, who had earlier shown interest in running for the chairmanship, chickened out follows threats to his life.

Although Bimha did not give exact dates for the polls, reliable sources said they could be held on December 28.

In Manicaland, the fight is between the incumbent Mike Madiro and pretender Albert Nyakuyedzwa while Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi is a rank outsider.

Embattled Masvingo provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira is facing a formidable opponent in his current deputy Robson Mavhenyengwa.

Elections within the ruling Zanu PF have often been characterised by violence, threats and accusations of vote buying as members jostle for the usually influential and financially rewarding posts.

The provincial elections are set to re-ignite a power struggle that has been simmering in the seams for the past three years between Zanu President and First Secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa and his highly ambitious deputy, Constantino Chiwenga. Factions belonging to them are fighting bitterly over control of party structures.

Mnangagwa and the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander are fighting for the heart and soul of Zanu PF and control of the levers of state power.

The differences between the two emerged after the November 2017 coup over several issues, such as type of transitional arrangement, key appointments, including cabinet posts and Mnangagwa’s tenure.