By Andrew Kunambura
THERE was a near fist fight between Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and Lands Water and Agriculture deputy minister Douglas Karoro during a Zanu PF inter-district meeting at Mahuwe Growth Point in Mbire as factional combats in the ruling party escalate with the upcoming provincial elections, NewZimbabwe.com can exclusively report.
Sources who attended the meeting said it nearly degenerated into a mass brawl after Kazembe, failed to recognise Karoro, resulting in the latter storming off the meeting trailed by more than half of the delegates.
Kazembe is fighting for his political life as he faces a serious challenge from businessman Tafadzwa Musarara, who according to sources has gained significant ground against him.
Karoro is widely believed to be backing Musarara, although sources said the bad blood between him and Kazembe started some time last year when he blocked his attempts to gain control of vast swarths of land in Kanyemba area.
The area, presumably rich in minerals and oil, is set for massive development and notable people are scrambling or pieces of land anticipating rich returns in the future.
In fact, sources said, the meeting at Mahuhwe was the second at which the two clashed, having done so two weeks before in Kanyemba.
“They initially exchanged words at an inter-district meeting held in Kanyemba. What happened was that on the programme, Karoro was supposed to give the vote of thanks, but he changed the programme and gave the vote of thanks to someone else. This greatly angered Karoro, who responded by walking out on him,” one source said.
“However, as he made his way out, some of the party members ran after him and persuaded him to return. The truth is that there has been bad blood between them. Kazembe wanted some land there and Karoro blocked him, so that is the main source of the problem,” the source said.
“The situation is so bad that Kazembe is now fighting Karoro so that he loses the primary election for the Mbire constituency come 2023 elections. He is now backing a guy called Mutukudzi who is the vice chairman for the Kanyemba district co-ordinating committee to be the MP. He is moving around presenting him as such,” the source added.
The source said the Mbire meeting almost turned into a violent occurrence after Kazembe started chanting slogans openly denouncing Karoro.
“They then went for a second meeting at Mahuwe and that is where things went bad. The drama continued with Kazembe failing to recognise Karoro. Karoro then took his supporters, who turned out to be more than half of those attending, and the meeting ended abruptly. Kazembe started to denounce, Karoro and encouraging people to snub him in the 2023 election. He also started dishing out US$5 notes to the remaining delegates. Karoro and his supporters congregated outside and started singing anti-Kazembe songs as well. Had it not been for some of the sober heads, violence could have easily occurred because tempers ran high,” a Zanu PF official present at the meeting said.
“He has now started to mobilise the whole Mbire district to support Musarara in his bid to dislodge Kazembe,” the official said.