ZANU PF stalwarts and ex-ministers in the current administration and late former President Robert Mugabe’s government are plotting a political comeback after they were cleared by the politburo to contest in the party’s central committee elections set for today and tomorrow, NewsDay Weekender has learnt.
Some current ministers, who also did not meet the party’s selection criteria, were also plotting to make some inroads into key party organs.
This followed a decision to waiver restrictions, which could have relegated them into the political dustbin ahead of the Zanu PF congress later this month.
The central committee is Zanu PF’s highest decision-making body in-between congresses.
However, the party also disqualified many others from contesting the central committee polls, accusing them of being double agents, although the party refused to name them.
Party political commissar Mike Bimha told journalists yesterday that a number of Zanu PF cadres who had wanted to contest were left hanging in the balance because they did not meet the set criteria of serving the party for 15 consecutive years.
“You might find that we had a number of ministers — current ministers (and) former ministers who had applied, but who did not meet the requirements in terms of the 15 years, five years, but who now had to seek waivers. Mthuli (Ncube) is an example, he has now been afforded the waiver, he will be standing for election in the Bulawayo province. You had Sekai Nzenza, who has also been allowed to stand in Mashonaland East. You also have former Minister of Health, Obadiah Moyo, who is also going to stand in Harare,” Bimha said.
He added that the party had disqualified some candidates because information showed that some were “double agents”.
- Zanu PF ready for congress
- Zanu PF official suspended over violence
- Pray for Zim: Makandiwa
- Woes mount for suspended Zanu PF DCC chairperson
“You also have those who have been disqualified because there (was) additional information to the point that probably they are not in good standing in terms of their activities — some who might not really (be) moving with us, who might probably be Zanu PF during day time and opposition during the night,” Bimha said.
In Midlands, former Minister of Special Affairs for Lands and Resettlement Flora Buka, a former close Mugabe ally, was cleared to contest in elections today after a politburo meeting which ran deep into the night on Thursday.
Ex-ministers Francis Nhema (Environment) and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Foreign Affairs) will battle it out with national consultative assembly member Breakfast Ncube and ex-Allied Timbers chairperson Emmanuel Fundira.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Mozambique Victor Matemadanda reportedly told party faithful in Gokwe in a WhatsApp group that he would wait on Mnangagwa to appoint him back into the central committee “if he sees fit”.
In Mashonaland West, former ministers Priscah Mupfumira (Environment) and Webster Shamu (Policy Implementation) will battle it out for a slot into Zanu PF mainstream politics.
Ex-ministers Christopher Mushohwe (Information), Supa Mandiwanzira (ICT) and Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence) — all former close Mugabe allies — are also eyeing central committee positions.
Mandiwanzira is expected to square off with former Nyanga South legislator Paul Kadzima and current central committee member Moses Gutu in Nyanga South.
Mushohwe will battle it out with Zanu PF Manicaland chairperson and Transport deputy minister Mike Madiro and former youth boss Admire Mahachi.
Some of the contestants include Christopher Chingosho (ex-Local Government deputy minister), Shadreck Chipanga an ex-Home Affairs deputy minister and former Central Intelligence Organisation director-general in the 1990s.
Chingosho and Chipanga are among 12 candidates that have successfully applied to contest in Makoni district, Manicaland province.
They will face Information and Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere and former Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in the elections.
Chingosho has declared victory claiming he was more popular than Chinamasa.
Only two candidates from Makoni district are expected to be elected into the central committee.
In Mashonaland Central, James Makamba, Chenhamo Chimutengwende, Nicholas Goche (former State Security minister), Alice Chimbudzi, Sam Parirenyatwa, Angeline Tongogara, Paul Mazikana, Fortune Chasi (former Energy minister) Lazarus Dokora (ex-Education minister) and Douglas Karoro, among others, are contesting.
Karoro, who was expelled as Agriculture deputy minister, is out on bail facing charges of stealing 700 bags of fertiliser, US$18 000 worth of maize seed and 5 000 vegetable seed kits from presidential inputs schemes and selling them.
Former Chivi South MP Killer Zivhu yesterday said he had completely cut ties with Zanu PF and was not eyeing a comeback.
Former ministers Bright Matonga (Information), Terrence Mukupe (Finance deputy) and Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna are not contesting after their candidatures were turned down.
Party sources also told NewsDay Weekender that Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza and Marian Chombo (Local Government deputy minister) both have Mnangagwa to thank after their previous flirtations with opposition parties was not considered.
Party members in Mashonaland West province said they were shocked after Mnangagwa gave the nod to controversial Mike Chimombe to participate in the elections.
Chimombe was recently arrested for allegedly defrauding a Harare man of US$16 500 in a botched residential stand deal. He is out on bail.
The polls will be fiercely contested amid vote-buying allegations, rigging and intimidation.
In Matabeleland, a total of 40 candidates, including Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, are contesting.
Mpofu’s wife Sikhanyisiwe (Umguza) is unopposed alongside Small to Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni (Nkayi) and Siphiwe Mafuwe (Hwange).
Mudenda is facing off with eight other candidates in Hwange, while Mpofu is contesting against two challengers in Umguza.
In Lupane West, sitting legislator Martin Khumalo is not contesting. There are five candidates in Lupane. In Binga, there are nine candidates.
Minister of State in Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s office, Sibangumuzi Khumalo, is contesting in Tsholotsho against seven other candidates, including Minister Without Portfolio Cain Mathema.
In Bulawayo, Tshinga Dube, Joshua Malinga and Mlungisi Moyo are also contesting.
Addressing a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Marondera on Thursday, Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Daniel Garwe warned party members against vote-buying.
“We now have a few days towards elections, and we are aware of the vote-buying antics by candidates. We are warning all those doing that to stop because they can be disqualified even on the eve of the election,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa told NewsDay Weekender that the candidates’ curricula vitae (CVs) were vigorously checked.
“The CVs were vigorously checked and (went through) numerous security checks. President Emmerson Mnangagwa also verified the CVs,” Mutsvangwa said.
“On the issue of vote-buying, if people have evidence, they can come forward to us to deal with the matter.”
Some party officials yesterday claimed that five other notables in Mashonaland, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo, and Mashonaland Central provinces had been cleared to contest for central committee posts while others were barred.
However, NewsDay Weekender could not verify all the names by the time of going to print.
Mugabe was removed from power during an urgent central committee meeting held in November 2017, which is now subject of court proceedings by party faithful Sybeth Musengezi.