By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
THE internecine factional ructions battle for control of Mashonaland West Zanu PF has reached a crescendo, with claimant to the provincial chairmanship, Vengai Musengi this week accusing Provincial Affairs minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka of orchestrating the arrests of his allies in a bid to stifle his campaign and affect his chances of winning.
Musengi and Mliswa-Chikoka are both eyeing the Zanu PF provincial chairperson’s post which fell vacant following the elevation of Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to the party’s politburo, recently.
During a provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting held in Chinhoyi on Sunday, Musengi took the opportunity and pleaded with senior politburo secretary for security, Lovemore Matuke, who was in attendance, to rein in Mliswa-Chikoka who was allegedly commandeering the police to arrest youths aligned to him.
He also alleged Mliswa-Chikoka was abusing her office by inviting her brother, independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa to attend Zanu PF events despite the garrulous MP’s blatant verbal attacks on Zanu PF members on social media.
Musengi alleges Temba, in a bid to denigrate his sister’s rivals in the race for party provincial chairmanship, was inadvertently attacking President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF as a party.
“I am being attacked by Temba on social media, but people come to my inbox and advise me not to respond. Some of the things he is saying are damaging the party. He scolds us on social media, and ironically after that you see Temba at the top table when we have President’s programmes,” Musengi said.
“Our position as youths is that Temba is banned from Zanu PF events, the President’s programme that was conducted at Ngezi was the last for him to have attended. Down with enemies,” he said.
“Some party youths are being arrested willy-nilly on trumped up charges allegedly because they belong to me. As Mashonaland West, we have a very big problem, as we go towards elections, let us not resort to help of the police to wriggle our way to power. If your work hard for the party, voters will retain you. Let us leave the police to do their professional work. There is no amount of accusation that would stick when someone is innocent. As a possible contestant, it’s not a crime to express my interest to run for a post, just like l did in 2018 when l challenged (Webster) Shamu who was also governor then.”
Added Musengi, “During that time l was contesting Shamu, l would naively rush to the police every other time, but l have since realised that internal party matters should remain among us and resolved amicably in the best interest of the party,” he added.
Musengi went on to issue a declaration banishing Temba Mliswa from attending events officiated by President Mnangagwa.
Musengi has made headlines in recent months for allegedly leading party youths invading lucrative gold mines in the province.
Musengi, Mliswa-Chikoka, acting Zanu PF provincial chairman Abie Mujere, and Information deputy minister Kidness Paradza are set to contest the impending provincial chairman elections.