MASVINGO — Zanu PF structures in the province have been plunged into turmoil after the late Vice-President (VP) Simon Muzenda’s son, Tongai, declared he intends to challenge the party’s Gutu West MP Noel Mandebvu in the next elections.
Muzenda said he will ride on the legacy and popularity left by his late father in the constituency.
He said he had already covered a lot of ground in his campaign to wrest the seat from the incumbent.
“It is true, I want to contest Gutu West constituency on a Zanu PF ticket,” he said.
“I think I will have a political rebound from the popularity built by my father. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
“It is not a fight, but a healthy contest within the same family, Zanu PF. So I do not think there is any problem with that,” Muzenda said.
But sources said relations between Muzenda and Mandebvu were already strained because of the fight for supremacy.
Zanu PF senior officials have reportedly worsened the situation by openly siding with Muzenda.
“It is a very delicate and potentially explosive situation which should be handled with caution,” said a Zanu PF insider who requested anonymity.
“Tongai believes his father did a lot of work for the party in the area which Mandebvu capitalised on.
“On the other hand Mandebvu believes the late VP’s son should have chosen another constituency.”
However, Zanu PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke played down the feud saying there was no fight over the constituency.
“As a party, we respect the incumbents until the primary elections are called for. After all, we cannot talk about elections now.
“Zanu PF is a democratic party and we hold primary elections,” Matuke said.
“There are a lot of things to be done before we can talk of elections, so it is rather premature for you to talk of the plebiscite.”
Muzenda joins the long list of children of departed Zanu PF heavyweights who want to follow the footsteps of their fathers.
One other example is Eddison Zvobgo (Jr), who tried his luck in the Masvingo Central constituency but lost to Edmund Tsungai Mhere.
Mhere, however, never made it to Parliament after he was trounced by MDC-T’s Jefferson Chitando.