HARARE – The Masvingo Zanu PF provincial chairmanship race is hotting up, with candidates that will be squaring off on Saturday hitting the campaign trail.
With incumbent provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke suspended last week for allegedly defying the party leadership by signing expelled Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s nomination papers, retired brigadier general, Killian Gwanetsa has emerged as the hot favourite to scoop the provincial chair.
Gwanetsa was last weekend introduced to the electoral college at Nyikavanhu Business Centre at the victory celebrations held for Walter Mzembi, the lawmaker for Masvingo South.
He will face retired major general, Gibson Mashingaidze, who says he is “the most deserving person to lead the Zanu PF ship in the province.”
Mzembi has said he was not standing in the provincial vote.
“I am punching my weight above provincial politics,” Mzembi told the Daily News, adding he was actively backing Gwanetsa for the chair.
“I realise Masvingo needs more unifiers than active divisionists.”
Factionalism and infighting in Masvingo Province is intense as Vice President Joice Mujuru’s faction fronted by politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire is at loggerheads with the rival Emerson Mnangagwa’s faction, fronted by Josiah Hungwe.
Mavhaire attended Mzembi’s victory celebrations with politburo members Nelson Mawema and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and 18 Zanu PF MPs from Masvingo. Zanu PF has a total of 26 seats in Masvingo.
With the Mnangagwa faction reeling after the suspension of its preferred candidate Matuke, the Mujuru faction is fielding Gwanetsa, an illustrious war veteran and strict disciplinarian.
Gwanetsa, the Chiredzi South legislator, has said he will be available to lead if his party asks him to.
The Mujuru faction is fielding Shylet Uyoyo for the Women’s League provincial chair and a young man only introduced as Huruva for the Youth League chair. Mzembi said the three were their best foot forward.
“I’m backing the three, the outcome will be determined on Saturday,” he told the Daily News.
“I am supporting them because they are tried and tested cadres with a strong foundation in our liberation struggle.”
Mzembi said Gwanetsa was the best man for the provincial chair job.
“The retired brigadier general is a soldier and gentleman, a firm disciplinarian and visionary who has retired from active military service to pursue active representative politics where he is now a legislator,” Mzembi said.
“He is non-tribal cadre with a strong foundation. Masvingo needs a strong leader steeped in our founding values and a unifier.”