…shadow MP gets one vote as bigwigs bite dust
MASVINGO –Former Zanu PF national political commissar Retired Brigadier General Engelbert Rugeje was humiliated by wheelchair-bound Cecilia Chabaya in the recently held Central Committee elections in Bikita and had to be rescued by Bikita South MP Josiah Sithole who had to withdraw from the race to pave way for Rugeje to find a spot in the committee.
A number of Zanu PF big wigs were shamelessly defeated in the Central Committee elections held last Sunday (October 9) in Masvingo, a development which showed their popularity no longer holds in the province marred by factionalism.
Sources said Rugeje had lost ground in his home area and his participation in elections were desperate efforts by the Mavhenyengwa faction to consolidate power in the province by creating a slot for him in the central committee.
“Rugeje lost to Gogo Chabaya, a Chadzamira loyalist and to neutralize Chadzamira’s hold in Bikita, they had to talk to Sithole to step down and pave way for Rugeje,” said one source.
However, Zanu PF Provincial spokesperson Ophias Murambiwa poured cold water on the allegations saying it was a lie adding that party statutes dictated that Rugeje was not supposed to be contested.
“That’s a lie, Sithole could not pave way for Gen Rugeje because they are not from the same constituency. What I know is Hon Madhuku (Johnson) is the one who had submitted his CV and later withdrew,” said Murambiwa.
The two warring factions are an offshoot of the alleged ruling party factions between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga and in Masvingo, Minister of State and former provincial chair Ezra Chadzamira is allegedly fronting Mnangagwa faction while his successor and current chairperson Robson Mavhenyengwa leads the Chiwenga faction.
Mavhenyengwa faction enjoys control of Gutu, Zaka, Chivi and Mwenezi districts and has a fraction in Bikita while Chadzamira faction has total hold of Masvingo and Chiredzi districts.
Other sources said Chadzamira was gaining ground in the province as Mavhenyengwa faction now has some internal divisions. Chadzamira got more votes than anyone else in the province in the Central Committee race followed by Davies Marapira.
Sources also said Mavhenyengwa was losing grip and soon the battle for supremacy could be between Chadzamira and Marapira who is currently overshadowing Mavhenyengwa in Zaka.
“Marapira is overshadowing Mavhenyengwa in Zaka and soon he will be Chadzamira’s challenger because he is making great inroads in the district and province,” said another source.
Of those who seem to have fallen from grace is perennial loser and Zanu PF shadow councilor Benjamin Taguma Mazarire who got one vote in Masvingo district.
Mazarire who is a business man lost to then MDC Alliance’ little-known Jacob Nyokanhete in the 2018 parliamentary race of which he became the ruling party’s shadow MP.
Another big gun who lost in the central committee elections is former Chivi North MP Paul Mangwana who is the party’s national secretary for Legal Affairs.
Mangwana was instrumental in leading the defense council during the 2018 election contestation at the Supreme Court and is a purported Chadzamira loyalist.
However, it has proven that he has no grip on the electorate back home as they voted in favor of Ephraim Gwanongodza ahead of him in Chivi district.
ZANU PF Chief Whip and Gutu South legislator Pupurai Togrepi was thrashed by former Chief Whip and Secretary for Security Lovemore Matuke with Matuke garnering 226 against Togarepi’s 60.
In Zaka, intra factional wars took centre stage leading to Angeline Chipato losing to Nyaradzo Tachiona though the women’s league slot was not supposed to be contested.
“There are internal fights within Mavhenyengwa faction. That is why the faction allowed contestation of the women’s league slot though Chipato was not supposed to be contested. There was a circular which said if a senior member who is in the central committee or above, she will not be contested. The circular was followed in Chiredzi and Gutu districts,” said the source.
Those who made it into the central committee in Zaka district are Davies Marapira who garnered 222 votes, Paradzai Chakona who got 125, Ophias Murambiwa of Zaka West and the women’s league position went to Nyaradzo Tachiona.
In Mwenezi district, Cuthbert Muzara Cuth made it with 198 votes while Obey Mbiza got 168 votes, Religious Matutu had 185 votes and Priscilla Zindari Moyo who got 54 in the women’s quota ticket.
In Bikita, Retired Brig Gen Engelbert Rugeje, Cecilia Chabaya and Univester Mukwena will represent the district.
In Masvingo district, winners are Ezra Ruvai Chadzamira who got the highest number of votes 252, Masvingo Central Legislator Edmund Mhere got in with 223 votes while Paul T. Ziki got 220 and Mucharevei Chamisa got 86 votes to represent the Women’s League.
In Chiredzi district, Farai Musikavanhu got in with 171 votes, Petros Chivhinga had 169 and Abraham Sithole garnered 164 votes.
In Gutu, Winston Chitando and Yeukai Simbanegavi got in uncontested while Lovemore Matuke got in with 226 votes and Charity Mhondiwa got in with 223 votes.
In Chivi district, Retired General Elasto Madzingira had 125 votes, Ephraim Gwanongodza got in with 121 and Elias Chikondere garnered 124 votes.