A faction aligned to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has lost the Masvingo battle, after a politburo decision to appoint Jorum Gumbo as interim chairperson.
The state media reports that Zanu-PF appointed Gumbo yesterday as the interim chairperson for Masvingo, as three candidates have so far expressed their interest to contest for the provincial chairmanship in fresh elections that were ordered by the Politburo on Wednesday.
Gumbo is expected to lead the province’s restructuring exercise and the process of holding the elections for the full provincial committee. The Politburo dissolved the Masvingo provincial executive and called for fresh elections after a third of its members left their positions for various reasons.
There was confusion in the province when Ezra Chadzamira was co-opted recently as the substantive chairman, taking over from Amasa Nhenjana, who was acting.
Renowned philanthropist and Chivi Rural District Council chairman Councillor Killer Zivhu said he was ready to contest for the top provincial party position, as was Chadzamira and Nhenjana.
Dr Zivhu, who is the provincial secretary for Finance in the dissolved executive, said time was now ripe for him to lead the province and had an elaborate programme that will enable the party to develop Masvingo.
“I am more than prepared to lead Zanu-PF in Masvingo and to all ruling party youths, women and other members, this is the time to choose a leader who can deliver tangible results to the people of our great province,’’ he said.
“I am a development-oriented and neutral person who is best disposed to lead this province as Zanu-PF chairman and I welcome the decision by the Zanu-PF Politburo led by our great leader and First Secretary President Mugabe.”
Dr Zivhu, who is well known for his pro-development activities in the province, said he would be able to unite people in the party and push for developmental projects that will benefit the majority.
“With the completion of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam and the rehabilitation of the Harare-Beitbridge Road, all is set for the uplifiting of the province and we need a person with a clear developmental vision. It is time for Zanu-PF members to elect a person with a clear agenda for poverty alleviation and programmes that will uplift them and create a green belt in Masvingo using the dam and Command Agriculture.
“I am offering myself to serve the people of this province and ensure that there is a turn around in the economy of the province that will ultimately benefit Zanu-PF and enhance its support base.”
Dr Zivhu was instrumental in spearheading the Chivi Village Zim-Asset, among other developmental projects, which resulted in some tangible benefits in the upliftment of communities.
If replicated throughout the province, such a programme will result in change of fortunes, through the harnessing of all water bodies in the province, especially for irrigation purposes, he said.
Chadzamira said he was excited by the decision to call for fresh elections in Masvingo.
“I want to thank our party President and First Secretary Cde Mugabe for making sure that the Politburo came up with a decision that called for fresh elections in Zanu-PF in Masvingo,” he said. “I personally think that it was a good decision which will further strengthen our party as we go for elections next year.
“I will always be available to lead Zanu-PF in Masvingo if people ask me to. I will contest the provincial chairmanship elections in Masvingo if that is the will of the people.’’
Nhenjana expressed his readiness to contest.
“The decision by the Politburo was the best solution for Masvingo because leaders who have the mandate of the people on the ground will emerge after fresh elections are held. I have not committed any offence against the party so nothing will stop me from contesting the party chairmanship post,” he said.
Party leaders from the province who spoke to The Herald yesterday said fresh elections to choose new provincial executive office bearers would bring on board leaders with the full confidence of the people.
Zanu-PF Politburo member and Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa said the move to hold fresh elections was a harbinger of good times for the ruling party in the province.
“We cannot continue to have a small executive of imposed people in our party and I think holding fresh elections will further strengthen our party as they will have the full confidence of the people,’’ said Mahofa.
Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Ignatius Chombo said no one would be barred from contesting the fresh elections in Masvingo.
Senior Zanu-PF Politburo member in Masvingo Josaya Hungwe said the province wanted fresh elections to be held as soon as possible.
“Everyone will be free to participate in the elections and all the posts in the executive will be up for grabs,” he said. “Politburo member Joram Gumbo will preside over the polls and we will have a preparatory meeting for the polls soon.
“We are quite heartened with the decision for fresh elections and President Mugabe was quite emphatic in the Politburo that leaders should come from the people instead of being appointed.’’
Zanu-PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere said Gumbo was expected to descend on Masvingo on Sunday.
“We appointed Gumbo as our interim leader leading to (provincial) elections,” he said. “Additional appointment would be made to help him. He will have other members of the party who will help him.”
Kasukuwere said Gumbo had worked for the party in Masvingo before, hence his appointment.