President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa has been given a respite and will no longer be subjected to an internal Zanu PF election in his bid to represent Norton constituency after his rival, who trounced him in primary elections, pulled out yesterday.
Mutsvangwa threw a tantrum a fortnight ago after he was beaten by the unheralded Langton Mutendereki in chaotic primary elections.
The war veterans’ leader accused Zanu PF commissar, retired general Engelbert Rugeje, of engineering his defeat and claimed a faction loyal to former president Robert Mugabe still controlled ruling party structures.
He warned that Mnangagwa would lose the election if action was not taken against Rugeje and Zanu PF subsequently reversed the outcome of the Norton poll, along nine other constituencies.
Mutsvangwa had been expected to slug it out with Mutendereki before the new comer’s surprise decision to withdraw from the race amid revelations of behind the scenes manoeuvring to ensure the former War Veterans minister had a clean passage.
According to sources, the Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting that met yesterday was given an instruction to ensure Mutsvangwa was not contested.
“We are going into this meeting with a clear instruction, comrade, we have to ensure that the special advisor is uncontested in the re-run. This is because he had no time to campaign and he is very busy travelling with the president while other candidates had time to do so,” said a member of the PCC before the meeting in Chinhoyi yesterday.
“So the instruction is that he has to go uncontested,” added the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Mutsvangwa emerged all smiles from the PCC meeting and declared that the province had done “the correct thing.”
“I feel happy because this is what the Mashonaland West leadership and the people of Norton wanted,” he said.
“It was investigated and the technical team saw that the initial elections were not done according to the laid-down rules and regulations.
“I never forced anyone to quit, he [Mutendereki] withdrew voluntarily and he is part of my campaign team.”
However, reports started emerging on Thursday that Mutendereki was under pressure to throw in the towel.
On Friday, Mutendereki told this publication that he had not yet made up his mind about taking part in the fresh primaries.
Mutendereki said he was “only representing the wishes and aspirations of Norton people”.
“It’s a decision that I can’t make alone remember there are thousands of people who voted for me, not only that some helped me with resources,” he said.
“Phone me tomorrow around 9am and I will give you enough information.”
Yesterday Mutendereki was not answering his mobile phone.
Mutsvangwa is likely to face his old foe Temba Mliswa, an independent candidate, and the MDC Alliance in the polls expected between July and August.
The ex-diplomat said he was confident of beating the former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson.
“Mliswa is just a loud mouth, just wait and see how we are going to reduce him to size,” he said.
“Remember credit should go to MDC-T supporters and war vets who helped him by campaigning in all the wards because they didn’t want [Robert] Mugabe’s rule.”
Meanwhile, Zanu PF will tomorrow hold fresh primary elections in Chegutu West and East, Zvimba North and South, Harare South and Glen View South, among other constituencies.
The re-runs were ordered after reports of alleged rigging, manipulation of the internal voters’ roll as well as failure by other party members to vote due to logistical challenges.
– The Standard