THE death of Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza two weeks ago has plunged Mashonaland East province into election mode, with Zanu PF party members reportedly jostling to take over his parliamentary seat as well as provincial chairmanship.
Matiza is one of the four ministers who succumbed to COVID-19 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.
Others are Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, Perrance Shiri (Agriculture) and Ellen Gwaradzimba (Manicaland Provincial Affairs).
At the time of his death, he doubled as Murewa South MP and Zanu PF provincial chairperson.
NewsDay is reliably informed that in Murewa South, popularly known as Macheke, there are four aspiring candidates — Noah Mangondo, Josphat Tanga, Michael Chifamba and Lyn Gororo — all eyeing the late Matiza’s party posts.
Matiza’s deputy, Michael Madanha is the party’s acting provincial chairperson.
A Zanu PF top party official, who declined to be named, told NewsDay that the provincial chairmanship was likely to be given to a candidate from any district, except Murewa.
He said Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa was likely to land the top post.
“Members are already canvassing over who is to replace Matiza. Some have opted to elect Mudarikwa (Uzumba MP) for the post. However, others are of the view that it is high time the chairmanship post moved from Murewa to other districts, possibly Seke district. We are still mourning our late leader and time will tell.
For now, Madanha is the boss,” the official said.
The late Matiza defeated Edgar Mbwembwe (former Local Government deputy minister) by a wide margin during the provincial elections.
Matiza was then chucked out of the position by the G40 cabal, which accused him of undermining the authority of the late former President Robert Mugabe. He was replaced by Bernard Makokove from Chikomba district.
He later bounced back together with his executive following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the throne.