ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo at the weekend openly campaigned for Zvimba North MP Ignatius Chombo, sparking a row with supporters of the Local Government minister’s rivals eyeing the seat.
Report by Everson Mushava
Chombo, his ex-wife Marianne and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Edwin Matibiri are battling to represent Zanu PF in the constituency in general elections expected later this year.
Contrary to what Khaya Moyo told The Herald that a rally at Yomba Mafuta Farming Community in Raffingora, Zvimba, went smoothly, the Zanu PF chairman had a torrid time controlling party supporters who were taunting Chombo.
Dismissing a NewsDay story on Tuesday headlined “Mugabe’s backyard on fire”, Khaya Moyo said the article was a “desperate story by a desperate journalist, published by an equally desperate newspaper. . . The regime change movement is now in disarray because they now realise that Zanu PF is winning the forthcoming elections. This is totally fictitious”.
But footage of the meeting in NewsDay’s possession show Khaya Moyo openly campaigning for the retention of MPs in Zvimba, and ordering newcomers without “history” in Zanu PF to back off.
Khaya Moyo chanted slogans praising Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo three times, while also heaping praises on Zvimba South MP Walter Chidhakwa and Manyame legislator Patrick Zhuwawo. This was despite a Zanu PF standing rule that aspiring candidates should not campaign until the party has come up with rules and regulations governing primary elections.
“Forward with Chombo, forward with Chombo, forward with Chombo,” Khaya Moyo shouted before warning party members against voting for new contestants who did not have a history in the party.
Khaya Moyo was, however, interjected by vociferous shouts from the audience disapproving his slogan and throwing a question back to him: “Is Chombo a war veteran?”
The audience repeatedly chanted Chombo’s name when Khaya Moyo continued with his slogans denouncing “sellouts” and “thieves”.
Khaya Moyo preached peace, reiterating Mugabe’s Independence Day speech. Impeccable sources also told NewsDay that towards the end of the rally, Khaya Moyo acknowledged the divisions between Chombo and Matibiri and pledged to return on another day to the constituency to resolve them.
As reported in the NewsDay on Tuesday, Matibiri was briefly arrested and released after a Zanu PF youth member alleged he had insulted him and Chombo.
Khaya Moyo could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print last night.
The rally was also attended by Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Mashonaland West provincial chairperson John Mafa, Chidhakwa and Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, among other party bigwigs.