Having assumed total control of Masvingo province, through the endorsement of Zanu PF provincial chair Ezra Chadzamira by President Robert Mugabe at a youth interface rally at Mucheke Stadium recently, Team Lacoste is now reported to be targeting to topple all incumbent legislators that are linked to the rival faction, Generation 40 (G40) at the party primaries.
At least 17 legislators from the 26 constituencies in Masvingo province are said to be sympathetic to G40 faction and the quartet of Darlington Chiwa (Chiredzi West), Denford Masiya (Chiredzi East), Calisto Gwanetsa (Chiredzi South) and Robert Mukwena (Chiredzi North) from Chiredzi district, has become the first target.
A series of meetings will be held in Chiredzi district with the Team Lacoste-dominated Masvingo provincial executive descending on the district to campaign for their preferred candidates ahead of the primaries.
The four incumbent legislators are reported to be sympathetic to Generation 40 (G40) faction which rabidly opposes Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ascendency to replace the 93 year-old President Robert Mugabe.
Chiwa is targeted to be replaced by Farai Musikavanhu, Gwanetsa by former Chiredzi South legislator Ailles Baloyi and former Chiredzi North MP Ronald Ndava is tipped to replace Mukwena at the party primaries, while Lacoste is still looking for a perfect match for Masiya in Chiredzi East.
Reliable sources from the Team Lacoste camp revealed to TellZim News that the faction has since started holding meetings in the district. The political meetings are however disguised as developmental meetings where they are mobilising support for their preferred candidates while de-campaigning the incumbents.
It is said that the quartet is also being sacrificed for their role in blocking the invasion of Tongaat Hulett sugarcane farms for which the majority of Lacoste faction got offer letters few years ago.
Chiwa has been on record defending Tongaat Hullet, which employs close to 20 000 workers in the Lowveld, saying those interested in sugarcane farming should be given virgin land, not Triangle and Hippo Valley estates.
Mukwena might be the first to lose in this battle amid reports that he did very little for people in Chiredzi North. In fact, Mukwena is only popular for travelling to Harare for parliamentary sessions using chicken buses. His predecessor Ndava is said to have done far much better than him and the electorate has already shown dislike for Mukwena.
The case is however different in Chiredzi East where Masiya is dearly loved by the electorate. Masiya, through Mangwa Quip where he is one of the directors, constructed more than two schools and a clinic. He is also credited with rehabilitating roads in the constituency.
Mangwa Quip also resuscitated Arda-Nandi estates through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and employed dozens in the process. It is because of these and many other projects that endeared Masiya to the electorate. Team Lacoste, therefore, has to find a perfect match for him or they would simply rig the election in their favour since they control the province.
Lacoste might also struggle to remove Chiwa in West especially with Musikavanhu, a candidate who has been part of the top Tongaat Hullet management, because the majority of workers at the sugar company bemoaned low salaries during his time. On the other hand, Chiwa was lobbying for salary increases for these workers.
Baloyi is eyeing a comeback in Chiredzi South but the electorate seems to be still angry with him over alleged misuse of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) between 2009 and 2013. He therefore, has a mammoth task to convince the electorate on the matter; even Lacoste might fail to do that.
Gwanetsa has done fairly well even without the CDF.
If Lacoste succeed in removing the quartet by rigging primaries, then Zanu PF might lose one or two of the constituencies through 'Bhora musango'.politics