Zanu PF faces backlash from disgruntled supporters in Midlands

Zanu PF leader, Mnangagwa announced winner of Presidential elections


President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands is witnessing a wave of discontent among Zanu PF grassroots who are rejecting the ruling party’s candidates in more than 10 constituencies ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Insiders said a protest vote or bhora musango/ibhola egangeni was brewing in constituencies where Mnangagwa’s allies allegedly manipulated internal processes to impose their associates to represent the party in the upcoming polls.

Bhora musango was a phenomenon that occurred during the 2008 elections where Zanu PF supporters voted for the party’s parliamentary candidates but snubbed the late president Robert Mugabe for factional reasons.

Mugabe narrowly lost to the late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential election and had to resort to a violent campaign to secure his victory in a controversial run-off that Tsvangirai boycotted citing violence against his supporters.

In the latest Zanu PF internal wars, insiders said the protests in the Midlands were against Mnangagwa’s allies who ran the show during the primaries.

According to insiders, there is simmering discontent in the party over how the primaries were handled where Mnangagwa’s allies had the upper hand on who was to be elected or not.

Sources said Local Government minister July Moyo, former State Security minister Owen Ncube, politburo member Mackenzie Ncube and Tsitsi Muzenda wielded influence over Forever Associate Zimbabwe (FAZ) and Heritage Trust, who were running the elections.

The FAZ is controlled by the Central Intelligence Organisation while the Heritage Trust is linked to the army.

FAZ, led by CIO deputy director general Walter Tapfumaneyi had the major say in the elections, according to a Zanu PF internal document titled Talking Points dated March 27.

However, The Standard established that Mnangagwa’s allies in Midlands hijacked the election process from FAZ and Heritage.

It was established that party supporters are not happy with the party’s candidates in Zvishavane, Chirumanzi-Zibagwe, Mkoba South, Mkoba Urban, Vungu, Redcliff-Silobela, Kwekwe Central, Mbizo, Gokwe North , Gokwe-Kana and Gokwe-Chireya.

It is also the same situation in Gokwe South, Shurugwi North, Shurugwi South, Mberengwa and Gokwe Sesame.

“In Zvishavane-Runde, more than 10 districts did not vote because ward 7 councillor Mecky Jaravaza, who is also the district coordinating chairperson (DCC), elbowed out Dumezweni Mawite and declared himself the winner,” an insider said.

“Larry Mavima was also elbowed out by the same DCC.”

“In Mberengwa, MPs Marko Raidza and Makhosini Hlongwane were also pushed out because they were not on the July Moyo/Mudha list.”

“In Chirumanzi district, Barbara Rwodzi ran the show and videos are there where she was forcing people to vote for her.”

The source added: “In Shurugwi North, the sitting MP Ronald Nyathi was pushed out while in Gweru district where Zanu PF had one seat, the sitting MP for Vungu constituency, Omega Sibanda, was pushed out after ballot papers were forcibly taken away from a constituency consultant (FAZ member) by a sitting MP from Kwekwe.”

“Brown Ndlovu, who has been a perennial loser in Chiwundura, is now the Vungu constituency candidate.”

“In Kwekwe, Manoki Mpofu was pushed out of Silobela constituency for Jona Nyebvera while Energy Dhala Ncube, a nephew of former State Security minister Owen Ncube was unchallenged in Kwekwe Central.”

This publication heard that Mnangagwa’s allies who ran the show were uncontested in their constituencies.

“In Gokwe South, they imposed Tawanda Karikoga despite the fact that he stays in South Africa while Paul Mavima was uncontested despite scandals,” a source said.

“In Gokwe North, Mayor Wadyajena was pushed aside because he was not part of their team.”

Last week, the party deployed party secretary for security Lovemore Matuke to quell the flames in Midlands but he met resistance from angry party members.

“Until the president comes down to explain what happened and hear our concerns and complaints, Zanu PF may end up losing a lot of seats in Midlands as things stand,” an insider said.

“Samuel Mumbengegwi is in charge of Midlands but he has failed to take control of the province.”

“Everything is happening under his watch. . . Mumbengegwi was once warned by the President that he must pull up his socks.”

“We appeal to the President to send an investigative team to probe what happened because the party is going to lose many seats.”

“Those who were announced as winners are even failing to mobilise people for their campaigns.”

Another source said Mnangagwa’s allies after sensing resistance have started recruiting artisanal miners to lead violent election campaigns.

On Sunday last week some youth members and gold panners under #Talibans were treated to alcohol at Mbizo Secondary School to solicit their support for campaigns.

Mnangagwa has said he will announce election dates before June where he will seek re-election for a second term. Mnangagwa has hinted that elections will be held in August where he faces stiff competition from opposition parties amid a cost of living crisis high inflation and power cuts.

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