HARARE – Zanu PF bigwigs’ political careers are hanging by a thread after the ruling party declared that it will subject them to primary elections ahead of next year’s key elections.
In previous elections, Zanu PF chefs in the politburo and central committee were shielded from contest on account of their seniority.
But with President Robert Mugabe desperate to win the youth vote, Zanu PF has broken with tradition to open bigwigs to contest by youths.
Harare provincial youth league chairperson Edson Takataka told the Daily News yesterday that youths in the capital were enthusiastic about the development and were raring to go.
“It’s now a matter of public record in the party that the only person who will not be contested is the president and like you heard from our national youth league secretary (Kudzanai Chipanga), we welcome this opportunity and there is a lot of enthusiasm amongst the youths especially here in Harare,” Takataka said, adding that “we are now waiting for the party to officially announce that those interested can start canvassing for votes.”
Manicaland youth chairperson Mubuso Chinguno said he would want to see more youths becoming MPs and councillors “seeing that currently the only youth we have as an MP is Chipanga”.
“When the time comes, that is after the commissariat department has furnished us with requirements for one to be MP or councillor, we will go out there and encourage our colleagues to seek positions so they can become parliamentary portfolio committee chairpersons, council chairpersons and so on,” Chinguno said.
“That way, we can be able to have representation at the decision-making level of government and local authorities so that our issues as youths are well articulated by people who understand them.”
Party insiders said in Mashonaland Central for example, it is already dog-eat-dog, with bigwigs even challenging each other.
Rushinga legislator Wonder Mashange is allegedly on the ropes as Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora moves to reclaim his former constituency before he was consumed by factional fights which linked him to former vice president Joice Mujuru’s camp.
“Remember he is a non-constituency MP and he does not want his political life to be dependent on the president’s benevolence, hence he has since started to work with the communities, visiting them after every month since the beginning of this year,” a regional source said.
Both Mashange and Dokora were not taking calls when efforts to get their comments were made.
Among the aspiring MPs who have become more visible in constituencies than the incumbents are Charles Chikaura (Bindura South), Tongai Kasukuwere (Bindura North) as well as one Chasasa (Mbire) and the other one only identified as Size who is gunning for the Muzarabani North constituency.
The four constituencies are represented by Remigious Matangira, Kenneth Musanhi, Douglas Karoro and Alfred Mafunga, respectively.
In Mashonaland East, Jeremiah Chiwetu is reportedly under pressure from Marondera Rural District Council chairperson Patrick Chidhakwa who is alleged to be eyeing his constituency.
“The man has been on the ground since last year and this year he is sponsoring local football teams as he prepares his parliamentary bid although at the moment he is hiding behind the fact that he is council chairperson, but the truth is that Chiwetu is having sleepless nights,” Patrick Chirandu, a resident in the constituency said.