At the heart of Zaka district is the most sought after constituency, Zaka Central. The incumbent legislator Paradzai Chakona is indeed tying all his best to make sure he gets another term come 2018.
But that would not be a stroll in the park as nine other candidates are said to be strategically positioning and readying themselves ahead of the much anticipated harmonised elections.
From Zanu PF, James Makiya, Nyaradzo Tachiona, Johanes Chindanya and Kunaka Alfonce and a Svuure are said to be ready to challenge Chakona.
As if to say he is the best candidate, Chakona has since bought a new Benz GL 4Matic and personalised the number plates – ZAKA 1 – which probably means he is the Zaka's number one candidate. Maybe he is – time will tell.
Besides that infamous incident in China when he led other parliamentarians astray back then, an error of judgement that made him a butt of jokes, Chakona has endeared himself with the electorate for fulfilling some of the promises he made in the run up to the July 31, 2013 elections.
A hostile relationship with Chief Nhema (Rangarirai Bwawanda) also did not deter him as he continued to work with the electorate representing them fairly well in Parliament. At least he contributes during debates in Parliament unlike some of his counterparts from Zaka district.
As for Tachiona, she never lost hope after losing dismally to Chakona in the 2013 Zanu PF primaries, and she is now back with a bang! But being a mother comes with a lot of responsibilities and usually it is not easy to balance the roles of motherhood with the demands of politics.
But Tachiona seems to be managing well as she has risen through the party ranks to become a provincial executive member and she controls some of the structures in Zaka Central.
Being a teacher at a local school might also give her a bit of leverage. Being a woman contesting a rural constituency, however, is not an easy task and it becomes all the more difficult if one does not have enough resources to fund a strong campaign.
Makiya, the other candidate, is said to be enjoying a cordial relationship Chief Nhema who hardly sees eye to eye with Chakona. This may get him (Makiya) all the support to oust the incumbent legislator.
He can count on the fact that the electorate might not want to be seen as snubbing their chief's preferred candidate. He stands to gain if he capitalises on that relationship and fully exploits it to his advantage.
The Majority of Zaka Central's wards are in Chief Ndanga area and since Makiya sponsors the Chief Ndanga trophy, this might be his biggest advantage ahead of other candidates.
Being a lawyer might also help Makiya to get the better of Chakona probably in terms of strategising though Chakona himself cannot be underrated as he is an eloquent intellectual himself.
Kunaka is said to be close to Chief Nhema too and both Kunaka and Makiya hail from Ward 14 but Kunaka seems to have not covered as much ground so far, and the same goes for Chindanya and Svuure.
The ultimate winner will face candidates from MDC-T, PDP and RDZ at the general elections.
From MDC-T, James Mushonga, Francis Binza, Alois Zimudzi and Paul Vurayai are said to be interested. Mushonga outmatched Vurayai in 2013 before he was sent packing by Chakona on the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections.
Both Vurayi and Mushonga are said to be interested in trying their luck once again. They will battle it out with Zimudzi, Binza. Zimudzi is a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in the faculty of medicine. It is said he was once Tsvangirai's personal assistant and is based in Harare.
Vurayai is a lawyer by profession and was in COPAC team during the constitution making process in 2012 and is a businessman while Binza hails from ward 14 and is a businessman based in Harare.
Though he comes from Zaka, he is not so popular and if he wants to test the waters he has a lot of work to do since 2018 is around the corner. Zimudzi is credited for assisting the MDC-T victims that were petrol bombed at Jerera growth point in 2008.
Mushonga is the talk of Jerera and Zaka in the MDC camp. He is said to be humble and mixes and mingles with the electorate more frequently than any other person in MDC-T. He even drinks traditional beer with them but it seems he is fast forgetting to campaign.
Ward 19 councillor Peter Imbayarwo's name is also among the other interested candidates though he has dismissed it as 'a mere rumour'. Imbabyarwo is the only opposition councillor in the Zanu PF dominated Zaka Rural District Council (RDC).
Suppose he succumbs to pressure from the electorate and accept to contest for the constituency, Imbayarwo might stand a better chance.
Former Zaka Central MP Harrison Mudzuri is said to be eyeing a comeback under PDP though some suggest that he now wants to contest for the position of councillor.
Joseph Chipfumo is also said to be eyeing the same constituency under the RDZ ticket. He is hardly known though.
Chipfumo is said to be a gold miner and is a holder of a mining certificate from the Zimbabwe School of Mines.
Whatever happens and whoever wins primaries of any of the political parties will not have an easy win in the general election as the field promises to be more competitive than ever before.For contributions e-mail
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