Whoever told teachers that they are proper candidates for the National Assembly might have overdone it in Zaka West where four school heads are now readying themselves for the much anticipated 2018 general elections.
Maybe it is because of the notion that teachers can articulate issues better, a quality which National Assembly members are expected to have if they are to make an impact in that esteemed house.
Four Zanu PF members are said to be preparing themselves to replace incumbent Zaka West legislator Vincent Mawere at party primaries. Ophias Murambiwa Magaisa, popularly known as Maga-Maga, is said to be preparing for a second bout after he was sent packing during 2013 Zanu PF primaries where Mawere emerged victorious.
Maga-Maga is a teacher at Harava Primary School. Having lost to Mawere at the previous election, Maga-Maga is said to be on the ground every day trying to convince Zanu PF structures that he is the best man for the job. Chances to win, however, are slim as the school head is being betrayed by limited resources.
When he lost to Mawere, he had more resources as compared to what he has at the moment, and that is probably his biggest handicap. During that time, he had a fleet of kombis plying many local routes but it seems as if he now has none of all that.
Being in the wrong factional could also be a setback for Maga-Maga whose campaign is said to be spearheaded by Amasa Nhenjana, a known G40 fanatic. The faction is believed to be at a disadvantage in Masvingo province where the rival Team Lacoste faction seem to enjoy wider support, therefore, an upper hand in the existing state of affairs.
Zaka West is one of the biggest constituencies in Zaka district and it needs a lot of resources for one to manage to go to every corner to solicit for votes.
Chrispen Watadza, head at Mudavanhu Primary School who is also Zaka Rural District Councillor for ward 17, is also said to be readying himself for the seat. Though he denied having ambitions to elevate himself from councillor position to a legislator, rumour has it that he is indeed in the race.
In terms of resources, Watadza is also not well-off to afford what it takes to mount a credible challenge against other well-resourced contestants.
Watadza, who chairs the finance committee at the local authority, is well experienced in the operations of the councils and could therefore be a better candidate after all. He talks a lot of sense and is one of the few councillors who are making Zaka RDC operational but he is not known in the constituency. If he is serious about the seat, he needs to start interacting with the electorate in Mawere's strongholds of Dekeza and Zingwena areas.
Jemias Bangamuseve, the Veza Primary School head, has shown interest in the same constituency although he seem to have the weakest credentials relative to other candidates who have emerged as yet. He is believed to be a man of little means and will find the going tough if he finally decides to give it a go considering that there will be other candidates with more resources in the field.
Bangamuseve is also said to belong to no specific faction as he probably has decided to sit on the fence and watch where the fluid Zanu PF will land others. This could, however, be a big setback for him because little progress can be made in Zanu PF nowadays if you do not identify yourself with a specific faction which you consider stronger.
On the other hand, Mawere, who has been a legislator for quite a long time, now seems to be a better candidate among the Zanu PF candidates and if he plays his cards well, chances of retaining the seat are still there. Being a war veteran can also propel him to the seat as Masvingo is under the leadership of Team Lacoste.
Mawere is well-heeled and has a number of business centres in Zaka named after him. The incumbent legislator also owns many properties in Jerera and is well-known by his electorate. Mawere is one of the few MPs in Masvingo who initiated some notable developments in his area.
He started a road construction project in his constituency, making accessible some areas which were previously inaccessible. The project is yet to be completed but if he manages to complete it before elections, he will be in a better position to easily retain his seat.
Mawere also facilitated electrification of various schools in his constituency and this can be an advantage if he manages to convince the electorate that he is still worthy giving another chance. However, Mawere's critics say he is not from Zaka hence they need someone who is genuinely from the district. His other setback is that Nhenjana, who was running with him during the 2013 elections shifted his attention and is now campaigning for Maga-Maga.
Mawere is also not vibrant in the politics of Masvingo as he is rarely seen at most party functions. However, he mingles with the electorate and this can also be an advantage.
The winner from ZANU PF is going to face Festus Dumbu of MDC-T who is a former MP for the same constituency. During his time, Dumbu did almost nothing for the constituency, only taking advantage of the fact that people wanted change during the2008 economic crisis. He has to work really hard or he will be embarrassed like what Heya Shoko did in the Bikita West by-election.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION
The constituency lacks intellectuals since most of the candidates are teachers with at least a diploma in education. Mawere has the most political experience than his rivalries and has been a member of Zanu PF since 1980 and became MP in the early 1990s and has been changing constituencies in Zaka. However, his level of education is not clear and probably he is not that much educated after all.
Magaisa started active politics towards the 2013 elections. In terms of education, he probably has a diploma in education. He seems to be in the G40 cabal since Nhenjana was quoted recently saying he was the one who brought Mawere to Zaka West.
Though he usually attends Zanu PF functions, Magaisa is not an eloquent speaker and this can be a setback to him.
Watadza, being a school head, means he could be a holder of a degree in education and he is a good speaker who, when given the platform, can make a lot of sense. He is also experienced in politics for he was councillor. However, he is still unripe to be MP and the best way for him could be to seek re-election as a councillor in the RDC.
Bangamuseve is a headmaster with probably the same qualifications as other candidates. He has leadership experience since he has been a headmaster for quite a long time.
He was Chief Nyakunhuwa for 10 years and has been crime consultative chairperson for Zaka district. He is an acting schools Inspector in the district. Politically, he seems inexperienced though and has a lot of work to do before he can be a force to reckon with.
This leaves the higher chances between Mawere and Dumbu since no candidates from other political parties have emerged as yet.
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