THE battle for former Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene’s Makoni South seat has gained momentum, with friends-turned-foes, Zanu PF Manicaland chairperson, Happyness Nyakuedzwa and businessman, Cleopas Mugomba set to square off in the ruling party’s primary elections in the next few weeks.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
NewsDay is reliably informed that the two have been angling for the seat since Chimene was fired from Zanu PF during the military led Operation Restore Legacy, which toppled former President Robert Mugabe from power.
Chimene was an ardent critic of the then former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom she attacked repeatedly.
Mnangagwa was elevated to the Presidency after Operation Restore Legacy.
Mugomba could not be drawn into commenting on his interests in the constituency, only saying he was a businessman keen to help the community, particularly the youth.
“I am helping some young people to do projects. I have been doing this for a few years now,” he said.
A Zanu PF official said Mugomba and Nyakuedzwa were currently considered the most powerful ruling party activists in the constituency.
“It will be an intense battle between friends-turned-foes, given how much is at stake for the pair. Perhaps the brutal nature of their power struggle isn’t surprising,’’ the official said.
“Mugomba, with the support of a powerful clique, which includes a senior Zanu PF politburo member and war veterans, have started campaigning and holding separate meetings in the constituency. Mugomba has been in politics for 25 years and he is on record saying that he does not contest in elections that he is sure to lose, so this is a clear warning to Nyakuedzwa.’’
Nyakuedzwa could, however, not keep her secret of wanting the seat when asked to comment yesterday.
“This is my home area and this where my farm is. Why should I stop developing my area? It is not a secret that I want the seat, so I am carrying out development on the ground on behalf of my party, Zanu PF,” she said.