While the just concluded DCC elections could have dealt a body blow to unity in the ruling Zanu PF party, in Masvingo Province, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has tightened his power grip as all those who romped to victory are his strong allies, shutting out his deputy, VP Constantino Chiwenga who has been viewed as harbouring presidential ambitions.
Sources close to the goings on in Masvingo told The Mirror that Mnangagwa was keeping a close eye on Masvingo as he wanted to consolidate his power hence the deployment of his blue-eyed homeboy, Joram Gumbo to ensure that there is no misstep.
“The deployment of Gumbo was not by coincidence, Mnangagwa wanted to make sure that all goes according to plan, mind you he is the one who superintended the contentious provincial chairmanship elections which were repeated twice with Mnangagwa’s strong ally Ezra Chadzamira winning on both occasions.
“Mind you Masvingo is the one that played a huge role in propelling Mnangagwa to presidency. Masvingo is dear to Mnangagwa and he wanted to make sure that those who win are his allies, check the names of the winners they tell a story, those are loyal cadres of Manangagwa.
“This effectively shuts the door for those who could have harboured presidential ambitions as Mnangagwa will be unopposed come 2023,” said the source.
The source also said the expulsion of Killer Zivhu was part of the grand scheme to ensure that only those known Mnangagwa allies get leadership positions and the former Chivi South legislator was not trusted fortunately he played into their hands.
Masvingo provincial youth chairman Godfrey Mukungunugwa also a Mnangagwa loyalist said he was happy with the youth elected into DCCs as they were loyal to the party and President.
“There was no scheme at all but those who were elected were elected on merit and loyalty to the party and of course the President. You can’t be loyal to the party and not it’s leader. The team is already hitting the ground running in preparation for 2023 elections to ensure that our President gets 6 million votes and the youths will be at the forefront of the campaign. Naturally in any election there are losers and winners those who lost should accept the results and work with the winners,” said Mukungunugwa who is also Chivi RDC chairman.
He denied allegations that there was rigging and the provincial leadership was campaigning for a certain faction.
“It appears some candidates knew before the elections that they would not win and they started causing all sorts of problems especially in Masvingo District fortunately it was one or two districts that had such people otherwise overally the elections went well in all other districts,” added Mukungunugwa.
Harsh and near skirmishes were witnessed in Masvingo District as candidates fought for the control of heart and soul of the Province. The Mirror managed to record some videos of some visibly drunk touts scolding rival candidates (visit our youtube channel for more on that (https://youtu.be/nrbV911JsUY ).
In Masvingo District Tawanda Dube a staunch Mnangagwa supporter who is also the councillor for Ward 23 was elected DCC chairman ahead of Trust Mugabe who was allegedly being backed by veteran politician Clemence Makwarimba. In the same district businesswoman Sharon Murombedzi landed the post of secretary for women affairs with Agnes Moyo being elected secretary for the youth and Masvingo City Deputy Mayor Wellington Mawende getting the post of secretary for finance.
In Gutu District former provincial youth chairman and known Mnangagwa loyalist, Brian Munyoro was elected unopposed as chairman, David Muzenda was elected secretary for youth and Tamari Makaranga got the post of secretary for women affairs.
In Mwenezi Gift Mazhambe also Mnangagwa follower was elected chairman, Viola Maregedze landed the secretary for women affairs post and Passmore Madzudzu was elected secretary for youth affairs.
Siyaki Mundungehama also of the Lacoste faction was elected DCC chairman, Calvin Chauke landed the post of secretary for Youth and Fungai Mabiza got the post of secretary for women affairs.
Chamunoda Taruvona landed the chairman’s post in Bikita District, former Pamushana head and legislator was elected vice chairman, Chipo Munyoro is the new secretary for women affairs and Brighton Musheiwa was elected secretary for youth and all these are known Lacoste members.
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Clemence a Mnangagwa apologist easily won the chairman’s post in Zaka District.
“It was a foregone conclusion that I was going to win because I carry the President’s vision which is what people want and the results are now being seen,” said Chiduwa.
Samuel Magonde a war collaborator and former ZBC staffer who joined full time politics in 2015 stood unopposed in Chivi District, former legislator for Chivi, Albert Chamwadoro was elected vice chairman, Abiot Madzore was elected secretary for youth and Ward 5 councillor Grace Mukungunugwa landed the post of secretary for women affairs.
“We are already focusing on winning all the three seats in 2023 because Chivi is a Zanu PF stronghold. We will take all the 32 wards and the President will get all the votes from the district, our only candidate is ED come 2023, we have already put behind us the DCC elections and focusing on 2023,” said Magonde.
Another source also said the results of the DCC in Masvingo would ensure that Chadzamira who is the current provincial chairman and known Mnangagwa ally will easily retain his post whenever the elections are held.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa and the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Chiwenga are fighting for the heart and soul of Zanu PF and control of the levers of state power.
The differences between the two emerged after the November 2017 coup over several issues, such as type of transitional arrangement, key appointments, including cabinet posts and Mnangagwa’s tenure.
Insiders say initially the coup deal was that Mnangagwa would come in as a civilian face and serve one term and go, leaving power to Chiwenga.
However, Mnangagwa’s repeated talk of two terms is said to have widened the rift between the two. There have also been differences on critical appointments, dismissals, especially in the security sector, business deals and the direction of the administration, sources say.
Mnangagwa was recently endorsed by party provinces and organs as Zanu PF’s sole 2023 presidential candidate. However, insiders say Chiwenga is not prepared to wait for ten years of Mnangagwa’s rule to come in, setting the stage for a bruising power struggle ahead.
The party resolved to re-introduce the DCCs in its structures last year, claiming they were the missing link in the coordination of its programmes.
DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they became the centre of terminal factional fights among bigwigs. The party felt DCCs were, during that time, being used to foment divisions and fan factionalism between camps led by Mnangagwa and then vice-president Joice Mujuru. Mujuru and Mnangagwa were angling to succeed the late former president Mugabe. According to the Zanu PF constitution, there are 60 rural DCCs and 29 in urban areas that must be constituted.
When fully constituted, the DCCs form part of Zanu PF’s congress — the supreme decision-making body mandated to elect the party president. Accordingly, whoever controls DCCs has greater potential of sustaining power in Zanu PF.