. . . as Silvester Maunganidze denies interest
MWENEZI - As the 2018 general elections draw closer, more prospective candidates are emerging with seven more Zanu PF candidates said to be readying themselves for the party primaries, bringing the number of interested candidates from the ruling party to ten.
Though former tourism permanent secretary Dr Silvester Maunganidze denied having any interest to represent Mwenezi West in the 2018 general elections, seven more candidates have since reported to be eyeing the constituency.
Dr Maunganidze, who could not explain why he was removed from the position of permanent secretary in the ministry of tourism, could not explain why he lost the job but insisted that it has nothing to do with crossing President Robert Mugabe's path.
The former tourism ministry permanent secretary also said he never lost dismally in Chivi South saying even the incumbent legislator Utete will not publicly say that.
The incumbent Member of Parliament, Lamson Matavire is likely to face stiff competition at party primaries as the electorate is now said to be supporting other candidates and have turned their backs at Matavire whom they accuse of a host of misdemeanours.
If one looks at the common criteria generally used by the Mwenezi West electorate to measure legislator performance, Matavire is likely to be found wanting with regards to any.
Among many other things, Matavire stands accused of rarely participating in parliamentary debates therefore failing to sufficiently highlight the problems in Mwenezi West.
Besides the fact that he hardly addresses meetings in his constituency, Matavire did not initiate any meaningful projects in the district and many people are questioning how he came to be voted into office during the 2013 elections.
With a few months left before the elections and with Matavire being accused of having consistently gone 'missing' from his constituency, the electorate, as has become the norm, is likely to show him the exit door at the Zanu PF primaries.
The new seven Zanu PF candidates reportedly eyeing the constituency are Rennias Muchoko, Tafadzwa Masvayamwando, Obey Mbiza, Jonathan Hungwe, Priscilla Moyo, Clarence Mhosva and Deryl Collet.
Muchoko, the provincial secretary for transport and welfare who is also the district coordinator for the party, is said to be ready to try his luck.
Muchoko has got many advantages in terms of political exposure when compared to other candidates. With his roots in Ward 12, Muchoko's political clout began to show in 2000 when he was elected councillor. From there, he rose through the ranks to his current posts.
Since the flashing away of the 'Gamatox' faction from Zanu PF in 2014, Muchoko has been the district coordinator. He has been interacting with party structures and he is well-known in the constituency.
Being a holder of at least an Advanced Level certificate, Muchoko makes a lot of sense when addressing people at various party gatherings but is however faced with the challenge of limited resources.
For him therefore, the race is not a stroll in the park as other powerful aspirants who are also familiar within the structures have also emerged.
Masvayamwando, for example, lost slightly during the 2013 primaries to Matavire but he seems to be back with a bang.
He is a central committee member and his history within the youth structures can be traced back to around 2005. He has been visible, addressing structures at various meetings organised within the district.
Masvayamwando is likely to gain the limelight because of the achievements of his late father, former Mwenezi MP Isaiah Shumba.
During his tenure, Shumba worked for the electrification of many schools in Mwenezi West and when he later became Deputy Minister of Education, he helped many schools to introduce Advanced Level education. Though some of the schools were 'illogically' upgraded to high schools, Shumba had already convinced the people that he was a man of action.
As a holder of a diploma in mechanics, Masvayamwando, if he manages to drive his message across, can convince the electorate that he has the potential to reach where his father reached.
Having lost by a slight margin during 2013 primary elections, Masvayamwando probably knows that he does not have an automatic ticket to the national assembly in 2018. With resource constraints also being one of his major obstacles, Masvayamwando needs to work tirelessly to convince the electorate why he deserves their votes.
Mbiza, who is the Hariyeumba Primary School head, is also said to be in the race and is currently the party's deputy provincial secretary for health. He has been in the district structures for a long time and is also among a list of candidates with limited resources.
As a school head, Mbiza probably has a degree in education and his surname is very familiar to many people in Mwenezi. He, however, still needs to work really hard to boost his chances in the crowded field. The fact that the incumbent is a former school head does not in any way automatically put him at an advantage.
Hungwe, a colonel in the army, is originally from Chivi and is reported to be strategically positioning himself to wrestle away Mwenezi East for himself. His history in the politics of Mwenezi can be traced back to 2008 towards the infamous June 27, 2008 presidential election rerun.
After the election rerun, Hungwe began to establish businesses and has a farm in Mwenezi and is one of the aspirants with some considerable resources. He is one of the candidates already doing something on the ground.
In February this year, he donated some building material at Sandidza Primary School. Last July, he donated roofing sheets and cement to a Zion church and is also said to be organising soccer tournaments.
However, as resourceful as Hungwe might be, he still faces huge hurdles to overcome if he indeed dreams to get to parliament next year. The Mwenezi West electorate is popularly described as 'Mapfumbi' – meaning people who believe that a person who was born and bred among them makes the best of a leader.
Moyo, the provincial secretary for finance, is one of the leading aspirants though her history in the politics of Mwenezi is sketchy and cannot be traced beyond a decade.
Originally, she is from Mhondoro but she came to be associated with Mwenezi after being married to the country's ambassador to South Africa, Isaac Moyo. Though she used to reside in Harare, it is said that she relocated to Mwenezi almost seven years ago.
Rumour has it that after realising Joosbi Omar's victory in the recent Mwenezi East by-election, former Mujingwe Conservancy's white owner, Deryl Collet has seriously considered contesting in Mwenezi West.
If there is any grain of truth to it, Collet might spring a surprise as well.
Mhosva, a banker by profession, comes from Ward 12 and is also said to be an aspiring candidate but unconfirmed reports say he is not even within the Zanu PF structures.
Considering the calibre of emerging candidates, there is no predetermined winner and the 2018 Mwenezi West primary is likely to be a tighter contest than ever before.
The winner of the Zanu PF primaries will face other candidates from the opposition. Some believed that in the event of an emergence of a strong opposition candidate, she/he would be in a position to capitalise on the current Mujingwe Conservancy grievances.
However, the truth of the matter is that the advantage might not be that much because the area has several staunch Zanu PF supporters whose political allegiances cannot simply be changed over something as 'trivial' as the Mujingwe Conservancy controversy.politics,top news