UMGUZA legislator and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu’s influence in Matabeleland North comes to test on Saturday when the province holds elections for a Zanu PF substantive provincial chairperson.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma Staff Reporter
The province has been without a substantive chairperson since the passing of a vote-of-no-confidence against former chairperson Zenzo Ncube in November 2010, while acting chairperson Zwelitsha Masuku was suspended by Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo in November last year.
Khaya Moyo reportedly suspended Masuku, once an ally of Mpofu, to shake the minister’s influence in the structures. Khaya Moyo and Mpofu are reportedly involved in a tussle as they position themselves to replace vice-president John Nkomo in the party hierarchy.
Matabeleland North governor Thokozile Mathuthu was appointed party’s acting provincial chairperson. Mathuthu yesterday confirmed Saturday’s election.
“The elections will be held on November 24, but I am not aware of the candidates as they applied directly to the office of the commissariat,” she said.
However, indications are that Mpofu-aligned candidate Richard Moyo might win after Delay Ncube, from the minister’s constituency, on Saturday won the provincial youth chairmanship post in a landslide victory.
Richard, who was chairperson of the disbanded Umguza District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC), is likely to face off with provincial treasurer Patrick Utete from Hwange.
“Besides Mpofu’s backing, Umguza is popular for being the best run party district with many supporters. If you remember, Mpofu garnered a large number of votes in the 2008 election,” said a party insider.
But insiders said Utete might face problems after he was suspended last year for allegedly intimating that Hwange district did not support the endorsement of President Robert Mugabe as party candidate in the next election.
Utete reportedly told a DCC meeting in the run-up to the Zanu PF annual conference in Mutare in 2010 that party supporters in the district had lost confidence in the octogenarian leader.
Provincial spokesperson Jonathan Mathuthu and secretary for administration Clifford Sibanda, who were earlier in the year reportedly interested in the post, have backed down, while Douglas Khoza from Bubi reportedly withdrew his candidature.
Mpofu and Khaya Moyo reportedly had a spat in the politburo this year over Masuku’s suspension.
It was further alleged that Khaya Moyo complained bitterly to the State media over what he claimed bias towards Mpofu in terms of coverage.