HARARE – It might be a team made in hell lining up to represent President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in the forthcoming elections, yet the political jokers, flip-floppers, recycled wood and security cabal fit neatly into Zanu PF’s tragic-comic art of politics.
Some like Jonathan Moyo, Philip Chiyangwa and Kindness Paradza, who once suffered the full wrath of Zanu PF, are now back in the fold anxious for a comeback on the former ruling party’s ticket.
But who will vote for Moyo this time? What with his sordid history.
After winning as an independent in 2008 he left the rustic life of Tsholotsho to bask in the trappings of urban life and then rejoined Zanu PF — stabbing the people who had elected him in the back.
It is unlikely that the serial political flip-flopper will be able to convince the forgotten lot in Tsholotsho to vote for him yet again.
In the marginalised province of Matabeleland North, Mugabe and Zanu PF are blamed for the deprivation of the region and it is unlikely that Moyo will see off Roseline Nkomo, the wife of Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo.
Questions to be answered include; is it bhora mugedhi this time around for people like Moyo, who is accused by some of plotting the demise of Zanu PF from within?
Money talks and flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa is back in Chinhoyi after years in the political wilderness caused by a conviction in 2003 of espionage. Time alters everything and since his conviction, the power dynamics have changed in Mashonaland West making it an unenviable task for the dollar man — because just like Mugabe who once banished him for leaking politburo meetings to the South African government for a fee of course, urban voters do not forget fast and easily.
Still in Mugabe’s home province, former journalist Kindness Paradza is back in the crease and hopefully with a sting that will exonerate his treacherous switch from Zanu PF to join Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn in 2008.
In Mbare, Zanu PF politburo member Tendai Savanhu is set to lock horns with Eric Knight, a former radio announcer.
Chipangano might have made Mbare a no-go area in the past four years but voting is a secret event — where the electorate has a chance to secretly dump tormentors. With all his money, Savanhu is likely to lose in Mbare unless he plays hardball as he is accused by his comrades in Zanu PF of having done during the party’s rigged primary elections.
The surname Ushewokunze conjures memories of a liberation hero Herbert, but few have ever heard about his son Abicia who is running against Elias Mudzuri in Warren Park. The famous surname aside, Abicia is unlikely to dislodge Mudzuri and what more it is an urban constituency where the MDC is stronger than Zanu PF.
Still in an urban setting MDC heavyweight Tapiwa Mashakada might be counting his blessings after he was drawn against Ace Lumumba Matanje a political nonentity. Godwills Masimirembwa, is seeking to silence disc jockey-turned-politician James Maridadi, and what a mammoth task for the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chairperson given that Zanu PF is unpopular in Harare.
Still with mining but this time on diamonds, Marange Resources boss Tshinga Dube will have to make diamonds shine in Mokokoba where he will slug it out with persons like Gorden Moyo and representatives from the Welshman Ncube-led MDC. Ever bungling at the Zimbabwe Warriors Trust where he is the boss, it is doubtable that Dube will be able to squeeze a win in a constituency that dumped Zanu PF over a decade ago.
Apart from being a businessman of note, Dube has links to the security sector which in the pending polls is epitomised by police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka.
Flagrantly breaking the Police Act, which prohibits serving officers from partaking in elections, Mandipaka hopes to ride on the police badge and win the Buhera West constituency against MDC’s Jaison Matewu.
Perhaps Harare is no longer a safe bet for Hubert Nyanhongo who decided to dump his Harare South constituency seat, opting to go for Nyanga North where he will fight, probably tooth and nail, against MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora who relishes the chance to silence the noisy Zanu PF lawmaker oops ex-lawmaker since Parliament expired yesterday.
Across the mountains in Nyanga South, radio personality and former affirmative action chief Supa Mandiwanzira, will be tackling Willard Chimbetete, a subdued person by any stretch of the imagination.
Riding on free coverage from his own radio, Mandiwanzira hopes that the electorate will dump Chimbetete in support the rare fresh blood flowing in the veins of a worn out party that is in urgent need to reform itself.
Despite several charges hanging ominously on his head, former warriors’ fitness trainer and controversial businessman Temba Mliswa is back in the mix and with all his energies focused on Hurungwe West against a relatively unknown quantity Wilson Makanyaire, who is the provincial secretary for MDC in Mashonaland West.
In the middle of Zimbabwe just like elsewhere, war drums are beating feverishly towards showdown not between MDC and Zanu PF but also between Zanu PF factions. Little known personalities, political wise that is, like former Premier Soccer League boss Tapiwa Mashingaidze are rubbing shoulders with tried veterans like Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as they plot an MDC rout in Midlands. No doubt, the balance of power in Chirumanzu-Zibangwe favours Mnangagwa, after all the constituency was created specifically for him following successive defeats to the MDC in Kwekwe urban.
But there is no such certainty for Matangaidze, who runs a beer outlet on the periphery of Harare CBD.
The former PSL boss, who failed as a football administrator, is unlikely to excel in politics even as an MP for Shurugwi South, having presided over the domestic league that was fraught with blunders.
In Masvingo province Tongai Muzenda, son of the late vice president Simon Mzenda, though unknown and reserved, might fancy his chances as he is succeeding a Zanu PF comrade and will also be riding on his father’s popularity.
He however, faces a stern test from Philip Bohwasi who is hoping that Gutu West will join other constituencies and show Zanu PF the exit door. Fred Moyo, a well- travelled mine engineer and former director for Wankie Colliery, believes he can find a safe landing in Zvishavane- Runde constituency after being fired from the mining giant probably due to political factionalism in Zanu PF.
Before grabbing the ticket to represent the party in the forthcoming polls, Moyo was in political wilderness and somehow managed to floor Emmerson Mnangagwa’s right-hand man, Larry Mavima in the party’s primary polls. He will however, have to deal with Clever Bhoko, another unpopular politician trying to get a chance this year. By Thursday a number of Zanu PF seats in Mashonaland Central and Midlands were still unclear as to who will represent the party in the forthcoming polls.
Only two constituencies had names of those contesting candidates known in Mashonaland Central while 12 constituencies had known candidates in Midlands out of 25 constituencies. It was however, not clear as to why these constituencies had no known candidates raising suspicion that it could have been fuelled by factionalism in the former ruling party.