Some Zanu PF bigwigs, including ministers, are said to be fretting ahead of the party’s primaries slated for the weekend amid reports that some of them are throwing spanners into the works of their rivals.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa unexpectedly announced that primary elections to select the party’s candidates would be held this month, at a politburo meeting last Wednesday, giving the aspirants just a few days to put their houses in order.
Zanu PF candidates are set to participate in the parliamentary seats, local authority and senatorial elections next week.
The party yesterday started the process of receiving curriculum vitaes(CVs) from aspiring candidates and set guidelines for the primaries to select representatives for the forthcoming polls.
The deadline for submitting the CVs was yesterday before they are sent to the party’s elections directorate by tomorrow.
Zanu PF has deployed politburo members to observe the elections.
The Standard heard that some sitting legislators and other aspiring candidates were already playing dirty, using political muscle, state security and traditional leaders to frustrate their rivals.
In Makoni district, Manicaland Minister of Information and Communication and Technology (ICT) Jenfan Muswere is in the eye of a storm for allegedly pushing for the suspension of the nurse-in-charge at Gwangwadza clinic, Aleck Mapudzi.
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Muswere, a Makoni West MP, is said to be unhappy after his rival and primary election candidate Moses Ruwona made a donation at the clinic.
The gesture was seen as a vote-buying gimmick.
Bus operator and businessman Matinenga Mhiripiri is also eyeing the seat.
This publication is in possession of the suspension letter dated March 9, 2023 directed to Mapudzi written by Makoni Rural District Council chief executive officer only identified as Masanganise.
“Following your report dated 9 March 2023 on the issue of the clinic donations that you received, you are hereby suspended from employment with effect from March 9, 2023,” the letter reads.
“The suspension is with full salary and is in terms of the Statutory Instrument 87 and second schedule (Section 16).
“During your suspension you are not allowed to carry out any clinic duties and not to interfere with clinic operations as investigations are ongoing.
“We invite you to attend a hearing on March 24 at the council boardroom
“You are free to bring a trade union official, workers union committee member, representative of a fellow employee for the hearing.”
Zanu PF ward 26 chairperson in the same constituency, Luxton Chingara was yesterday seething with anger saying their headman, one Mupambawashe, was instructed by Chief Makoni to stop any candidates campaigning against Muswere.
“Chief Makoni has imposed that Muswere should not be contested after giving an instruction to our headman,” he said.
“The chief has instructed some traditional leaders to converge at his homestead tomorrow (today).”
Chief Makoni, also known as Corgan Zendera, dismissed the allegations saying he was not taking sides.
On Friday, Muswere went to headman Masvosva in the constituency where he threatened to withdraw presidential inputs from areas where his rivals supposedly drew support.
The (ICT) minister is accused of using computers as bait to get votes ahead of the 2023 elections.
Muswere yesterday did not respond to calls by The Standard. He also did not respond to WhatsApp messages on the matter.
Several other bigwigs are using the same modus operandi to ringfence their positions by instructing traditional leaders not to entertain their rivals.
“Traditional leaders and state security are being used by party’s bigwigs to ring fence their positions in constituencies,” a source said.
“Party bigwigs are panicking and fear losing their parliamentary seats and become ordinary party members.”
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe is said to be enjoying the support of the police who are accused of targeting his rivals in Mashonaland Central to frustrate them from holding their campaign meetings.
Kazembe has allegedly handpicked the party’s provincial vice president Christopher Kagomo to challenge the incumbent Patrick Dutiro.
In Mazowe Central, Sydney Chidamba MP allegedly deployed his foot soldiers to block Maxmore Njanji from entering into full time politics to challenge him.
Some sitting legislators such as Wedza South MP Tino Machakaire are accused of using their financial muscle to try and buy votes to retain their seat.
Gutu West MP John Paradza said he had done all the groundwork.
Paradza, who is also the Zanu PF deputy youth secretary, is said to have gained an upper hand by using youth league structures to sway votes in his favour.
“In my constituency, l have done every ground work needed,” he said.
In Bulawayo, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is said to be another aspiring candidate.
In Chegutu West, sitting MP Dexter Nduna is accused of threatening violence against opponents.
Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha yesterday said he was not aware of behind-the -scenes shenanigans by some sitting MPs and bigwigs to shut out their rivals.
“So far everything is okay and l don’t know about the allegations and l don’t comment on what l don’t know,” he said.
The story is published with support from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the Embassy of Canada in Zimbabwe under the Investigative Journalism Fund Programme.