HARARE – Rival factions square off today in Zanu PF provincial executive elections in seven provinces, with a group aligned to Vice President Joice Mujuru gunning for five of the seven provinces being contested.
So far, the ruling party has conducted elections in three provinces that saw Mujuru’s cronies romp to victory.
A senior official in the Mujuru faction told the Daily News yesterday that they will aim for a clean sweep.
“We are aiming at total control of the party. We want to win all the remaining provinces, if we fail, we must at least get a total of eight out of the 10 provinces,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Mujuru camp is targeting to clinch Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South province after bagging Manicaland, Mashonaland Central province and Midlands in the last set of polls that ended in chaos.
Amos Midzi, linked to the Mujuru faction, is confident of winning today’s polls for Harare province ahead of Jason Passadi, the legislator for Mount Pleasant.
As an incumbent chairperson, Midzi is buoyed by the six parliamentary seats he clinched in Harare during the July 31 polls.
“As the executive, we have done the best for the party in Harare to ensure that we win the seats we got,” a confident Midzi told the Daily News. “We have strengthened party structures down from cell to branch up to district level.”
Midzi believes his leadership, if given another chance, could propel the ruling party to take total control of Zimbabwe’s capital city.
However, Passadi, believed to be in Justice minister Emmerson Mnangangwa’s faction, is equally convinced that at the end of the day today, he will be Harare’s Zanu PF chairperson.
“This is our time, it is time the youth get control of their future,” Passadi said.
“I am very confident of winning tomorrow’s election because I have campaigned enough and met all the party structures in Harare.
"Our message is that we want indigenisation to benefit the youths from cell up the party structures. We are aiming at eliminating the MDC by 2018 and get total control of the capital city. I know what Harare people what, they want accommodation, they want to benefit from the indigenisation programme through tangible projects and not small things which we are currently witnessing.”
In Mashonaland East, incumbent chairperson, Ray Kaukonde is being challenged by war veteran Philemon Mutongi and Samuel Maisiri.
The Marondera law maker, believed to be a key ally of Mujuru, is confident that he will retain his post after leading the party to a clean sweep in the July elections.
“I can only say let’s meet in the campaign field and we can win the elections rather than waste time campaigning in the press,” Kaukonde said.
The epic battle lies in Mashonaland West province where six candidates are vying for the top provincial post.
Embattled businessman Phillip Chiyangwa is squaring off against Hurungwe West legislator Temba Mliswa also believed to be a Mujuru loyalist. Incumbent chair John Mafa, believed to be in the Mnangagwa faction, Nimrod Chiminya and Blessed Geza are the other candidates.
Reports indicate that Mliswa is the favourite to win it.
Zanu PF won all but one seat in President Robert Mugabe’s home area which was being contested by Chiyangwa.
The former provincial chair said he was confident of winning today’s elections despite having lost the Chinhoyi parliamentary seat to MDC’s Peter Mataruse in the July 31 general elections.
“I think I am the best person to be the chair for Mashonaland West, I am putting the party first ahead of any other interest that I may have,” Chiyangwa said.
In Bulawayo, incumbent chairperson, Callistus Ndlovu, linked to the Mujuru faction, says the seat belongs to him as he faced a formidable challenge from his deputy, Killian Sibanda, and Douglas Ndlovu.
“I am definitely going to sail through. I am going to win the chairmanship. I wouldn’t have stood as a candidate if l was not going to win,” Ndlovu declared.
On the other hand, Sibanda, a suspected Mnangagwa loyalist, says he has what it takes to lead the party in Bulawayo and ensure the party grows.
“My goal is to ensure that we win all the seats that were taken by MDC in Bulawayo. We want to make sure that in the next election, Zanu PF will sweep all the seats in Bulawayo,” Sibanda said.
“I also want to liberate the city and my party economically. Bulawayo is a pale shadow of its industrial days and we need to revive the city industries.
“I am confident that l will win but it all lies with the people. If they want me to be chairman, I will be voted into power.”
In Masvingo, three ex-military personnel will be squaring off for the provincial post in a five men battle.
Chiredzi North legislator Robert Mukwena will fight it out against Rtd Brigadier General Callisto Gwanedza who is Chiredzi South legislator and former legislator in the same constituency Ailes Baloyi.
Retired Major Benard Mazarire and Rtd Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze are also gunning for the post which was held by suspended Gutu central lawmaker, Lovemore Matuke.
In Matabeleland North province, incumbent chair Richard Moyo will square off against Reeds Dube.
Matabeleland South chairperson Andrew Langa, believed to be a Mujuru loyalist, is being challenged by Lloyd Siyoka and Phumuza Ndlovu.
Voting is expected to start at 7 am and close at 7pm. The build up to today’s polls has been characterised by fears by candidates after the voters’ roll was not availed and fears over voter manipulation.