Scores of Zanu PF functionaries in Makonde district, aligned to political returnee Phillip Chiyangwa, last Thursday besieged Cookeys Hall where a party meeting was taking place, demanding that he bounces back as Makonde district coordination committee (DCC) chairperson, amid reports of deep-rooted factionalism within the party.
Upon Chiyangwa’s arrival at the venue the estimated 400 supporters broke into song and dance chanting “Mureza wehondo wadzoka” (The party’s flag-bearer has returned).
This prompted his opponents, chief among them former Makonde DCC chairperson Phineas Makumbe (now central committee member), to storm out of the venue.
Makumbe leads a faction eyeing the provincial chairpersonship.
The meeting, however, eventually proceeded with Chiyangwa being afforded the opportunity to address the gathering.
Said the maverick businessman and politician: “We need to reclaim all urban constituencies where we have lost ground to the opposition.
I challenge those that think they have the spine and muscle to come forward and represent the party in these hot-spots. People such as me have these attributes.”
The Zanu PF Makonde DCC leadership unanimously endorsed Chiyangwa’s candidature for the post of chairperson, throwing out incumbent one Muzvidzwa who is reportedly aligned to Makumbe.
Chiyangwa — who doubled as Chinhoyi MP and Mashonaland West provincial chairperson before his unceremonious ejection from Zanu PF on espionage charges in 2004 — has been making spirited efforts to bounce back.
He was, however, later cleared of the charges, but took a recess from active politics since.
If the businessman-cum-politician lands the top Makonde post, he is set for a bruising fight for Mashonaland West provincial chairperson with incumbent acting chairperson John Mafa.
Zanu PF is on a drive to revamp its district and provincial structures to strengthen itself before general elections sometime next year.