BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The ruling Zanu PF party is likely to face a litmus test in the looming Murewa South by-election if Noah Mangondo, who was an independent candidate in the 2018 general elections, decides to contest.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Joel Biggie Matiza last month.
Matiza, who was also the Transport minister succumbed to COVID-19 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.
In the 2018 election, both Matiza and Mangondo polled more than 10 000 votes with the former winning by a small margin.Mangondo challenged the result, but lost the case.
A top Zanu PF official in the constituency, who refused to be named, said Mangondo was likely to take over from Matiza. The official urged the party to readmit the former central committee member into its structures to avoid a humiliating defeat.
“As the party seeks to find a new legislator for the constituency, it will be good not to ignore Mangondo in the whole matrix,” the official said.
“Matiza almost lost to him and the fact that an independent candidate gave him a torrid time speaks volumes of the kind of person he (Mangondo) is. It is high time for the revolutionary party to readmit him for the benefit of both the party and electorate.”
In a bid to retain the seat, popularly known as Macheke, the late Matiza, who was also the Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, reportedly ensured that Mangondo’s CV was missing ahead of the party’s primaries.
Chaos erupted afterwards as Zanu PF supporters protested against the missing CV. Mangondo then decided to go solo, a move that rattled the party as the former ambassador attracted better crowds than Matiza.
Yesterday, Mangondo refused to comment on his candidature.
“I have no comment,” he said.
But residents say Mangondo has been a defacto MP and had done several developmental projects in the area. A number of candidates were reportedly positioning themselves to succeed Matiza, among them Michael Chifamba, youthful politician Josphat Tanga and provincial women’s league boss Lyn Gororo.
Matiza has been Murewa South legislator for close to two decades.
- Follow Jairos on Twitter @jairossaunyama