…Mwenezi East presents opportune for political newcomers and periodic losers
Mwenezi-The ruling Zanu Pf party’s primary polls slated for Saturday, March 18, is likely set to be one of the most competitive of all races in the three Mwenezi constituencies, Mwenezi East, West and the newly gazetted Mwenezi North as most aspirants for both contests be it legislative and council seats are no pushovers.
Incumbent Mwenezi East legislator Master Makope who has opted to race for Mwenezi North will square off with former MDC Masvingo Central (now urban) Tongai Matutu and Peter Shotere.
Having been Mwenezi East legislator since the death of former Member of Parliament, Joosbi Omar, Makope has done fairly well in terms of keeping in touch with the electorate.
Given that during his short term in office he at least had something tangible for the people of Mwenezi, there are some possibilities that the electorate can give him another opportunity for a clean full term to fully demonstrate his capabilities.
Makope’s rival Matutu is unpredictable. Given his vast political experience in the opposition ranks coupled with his oratory giftedness, he can pull a shocker for Makope.
Given that Makope and Matutu’s rural homes are just a stone’s throw away from each other, they are also likely to divide votes.
Matutu defected from the opposition movement and joined Zanu PF but judging by the manner in which party leader Emmerson Mnangagwa keeps mentioning his name during political gatherings, he may be a force to reckon.
Matutu commanded a huge following during his tenure in Masvingo urban and this time around, people are ready to see if he can as well command such popularity among the rural electorate considering that in most cases, the urban vote in favour of opposition has been named ‘protest vote’ against Zanu PF.
In the event that the voter sharing concept prevails between Makope and Matutu, Shotere is likely to have the last laugh as he hails far away from other aspirants.
Shotere is a senior Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) employee based in Chiredzi who hails from Mwenezi North’s ward 6.
Although Shotere has little known political experience, he as well is a potential threat to the other contenders because for the past months he had been restlessly moving around the constituency helping people to register to vote and sponsoring sport tournaments.
Mwenezi East constituency is another battle ground without any predetermined winner where a total of five political novices and long-time periodic primary election losers are also tightly locking horns.
Jabulani Mberesi, a lawyer by profession, who came second in the race to replace the late Omar strongly believes that this is his only chance to win the ticket to represent the constituency where he had been a perennial loser in the previous party primary elections.
Yunis Sams Omar, younger brother to the late legislator Joosbi has also submitted his Curriculum Vitae for Mwenezi East.
Resourceful as he is, Sams is banking on using his late brother’s tactics and popularity to win the hearts of the electorate.
Youthful Sheillah Chikomo has also thrown her name into the ring for the Mwenezi East battle.
Well-known in the local party circles and having been visible making some donations and supporting sporting activities in her area, Chikomo has for long been making a name for herself.
A well-known influential Zanu PF member who previously worked at senior party posts, Kenneth Sibanda has also joined the race for Mwenezi East.
One Tavengana Muzenda from Mwenezi East’s ward 13 in Chingwizi area is also among the contenders.
A total of six candidates are vying for Mwenezi West constituency. The incumbent legislator Priscilla Zindari-Moyo who is wife to Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) Director-General Isaac Moyo is being challenged by Tafadzwa Masvayamwando who came second in the 2018 primary election.
Considering her well-resourced campaign team, challenging Zindari-Moyo needs more than a mere talk for the other aspirants.
Masvayamwando, who in the previous polls attributed his loss to massive rigging is hoping for a change of tactics to win the ticket to represent Mwenezi West.
Former Zanu Pf Mwenezi District Chairperson Renious Muchoko has also joined the battle for Mwenezi West together with School head Obey Mbiza.
Clarance Mhosva and one Baloyi are also among those who had submitted CVs for Mwenezi West.
The Zanu PF party Mwenezi races are not only tight for those racing for legislator’s posts but it’s a dog eat dog scenario in the council races.
More than half of the incumbent councillors are likely to be shown the exit door as a new crop of potentially capable local authority representatives have emerged within the Zanu PF.
Winners from the Zanu PF primary elections will battle it out with representatives from the opposition parties in the harmonised elections whose dates are yet to be announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.