By A Correspondent- Violence dominated the new Zanu-PF provincial joint council of the main wing, women’s and youth leagues’ inaugural meeting held in Chinhoyi Saturday.
The meeting was meant to officially hand over the reins of power to newly-elected chairpersons of the three-party organs voted during recent shambolic elections characterised by rigging allegations.
Mashonaland West Provincial Minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka won the chairmanship ahead of Information Deputy Minister Kindness Paradza, former Zanu-PF Mashonaland West youth league leader Vengai Musengi and ex-Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive Happison Muchechetere.
In the women’s league polls, Constance Shamu came out victorious, while Tapiwa Masenda clinched the chairperson post of the youth league.
However, an ill-fated Indaba held at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) gym hall started off later than scheduled, before violence broke out just as proceedings were about to start.
This was after Mliswa-Chikoka had instructed party security and police officers to allow only listed “winners” from the recent elections and bar the rest of party members.
Timothy Masviba from Chegutu district, who later on had his car tyres deflated by opponents, sparked the chaos insisting all participants of the polls, losers included, were eligible to attend the meeting.
Haggling and mudslinging ensued for close to 20 minutes as security details struggled to fend off resistance from Masviba and hordes of other members who wanted to bulldoze into the venue.
Guest-of-honour at the function, Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi, who was standing in for Politburo secretary for security Lovemore Matuke, watched helplessly from the top table as the melee ensued.
A visibly agitated Mliswa-Chikoka had to personally intervene to cool down tempers after it became apparent the meeting would not proceed and ordered police to close the door.
The meeting went ahead amid numerous complaints about the list of winners, the highlight being an objection by Agriculture Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos questioning the ‘ghost’ identity of one Jessie Banda, who was listed as having won in Muzvezve constituency.
Haritatos said: “With all due respect, on the list of winners that you have just read out, there is a character called Jessie Banda who is said to have won in Muzvezve. We don’t know a person called Jessie Banda and where they come from. We recently convened a meeting of chairpersons from Muzvezve and no one said they knew this Jessie Banda, we are baffled where that name came from, it needs to be replaced by someone identifiable we know won in the elections,” he said.
The chaos continued during the allocation of other posts that constitute the provincial executive membership, with Mliswa-Chikoka taking the flak for trying to impose her preferred candidates.
One Tsitsi of Kadoma district, who had been elected as the women’s league commissar, had her joy cut short after Rosemary Goteka was unilaterally thrust into the position as Mliswa-Chikoka flexed her muscle altering the line-up.
Tsitsi did not take it lightly causing a scene as she remonstrated against her shunting to a less influential post of information secretary.
The chaotic meeting ended late at night way after some members from far away districts had left.
The appointees to the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West main board are; Tavengwa Mukhuhlani (vice-chairperson), Misheck Nyarubero (administration secretary), Gilbert Chibayamagora (finance), John Yotam (commissariat), Alexio Mutyambizi (security), Vangelis Haritatos (transport), Godknows Murambiwa (information), among others.
The PCC, which will transform into an elections directorate, is reportedly set to meet soon to endorse or nullify the appointments as well as deliberate on complaints from the just-ended provincial polls, particularly from Chakari and Makonde districts.