….concern over ‘shrinking’ democratic space in ruling party
CHIREDZI – Three candidates who were contesting for positions in
the upcoming Zanu PF District Coordination Committee (DCC) elections have
pulled out at the 11th hour due to what some party insiders believe
is a matter of intimidation, TellZim News has leant.
The DCC elections will be held over the weekend from 05-06 December.
Eustina Magocha (Ward 18) and
Runesu Mangwau (Ward 28) vied for vice chairmanship post but withdrew from the
race to pave the way for education inspector Norman Sharara who in 2018
contested in the Chiredzi West parliamentary primaries but was defeated by
current Member of Parliament (MP) Farai Musikavanhu.
Tamirira Chayambuka of Ward 6,
who contested for the position of secretary of welfare for disabled and disadvantaged
persons, also withdrew from the race for unclear reasons.
The DCC structures, which were
abandoned by former president, the later Robert Mugabe a few years ago due to their alleged divisive nature, are
being hotly contested in the party as they are considered influential arbiters
of faction power in the crisis-prone ruling party.
Musikavanhu, who was recently
co-opted into the Masvingo Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) as secretary
for finance, announced the trio’s withdrawal on Zanu PF local WhatsApp group where most
members cautiously welcomed the development.
“Good morning comrades. I would
like to inform you that in the spirit of harmony and team work to further
consolidate the strength of our revolutionary party Zanu PF in Chiredzi West
Constituency and Chiredzi District at large following comrades have officially
withdrawn from the DCC Elections,” wrote Musikavanhu.
Musikavanhu initially had ambitions
for the DCC chairmanship but was persuaded to stand down before being co-opted
into the PCC in what was seen as a delicate act of balancing and appeasement.
The withdrawal of Magocha, Mangwau and Chayambuka from the race, however, raised the concern of other party
members who are worried about a supposed shrinking of democratic space in the
“If they were not coerced to
resign through one way or another, I salute the comrades though such
last-minute-decisions affect the electorate that had already committed their
votes towards the said comrades,” said one party member.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial
secretary for information and publicity, Ronald Ndava said they made
consultations with candidates who withdrew from the race ostensibly due to
“We made consultations with those
who withdrew from the race thinking they had been coerced or intimidated in any
form but it seems they voluntarily paved way for their cadres to avoid
vote-splitting,” said Ndava.