…Matuke tipped for provincial chairperson post
The coming in of provincial councils spells an end to offices of ministers of state for provincial affairs, with Masvingo's Josaya Hungwe – who in May pledged to retire after the July elections only to later make an about turn saying he was joking – facing drastically reduced influence as he is likely to be relegated to being a mere member of a large provincial council.
Provincial councils are established in terms of Chapter 168 of the Constitution and the current set-up of provincial affairs ministers that former president Robert Mugabe stubbornly perpetuated was illegal.
The provincial council will have a chairperson who will be the most powerful person in the province and will have to be voted for.
Masvingo has 10 provincial council members dominated by Zanu PF after the party won 25 out of the 26 parliamentary seats.
Winnie Tafirenyika, Kudzai Mashingaidze, Enita Maziriri, Rennias Muchoko, Rosemary Maswa, Phainos Makwarimba, Chiedza Kuwanda – all from Zanu PF – and Sarah Mwatenga, Muranganwa Chanyawu, Thokozile Mazivoreva from MDC Alliance make up the provincial council.
Senators also constitute the provincial council and in the case of Masvingo, Ottilia Maluleke, Lovemore Matuke, Clara Shumba and Hungwe – a from Zanu PF – and Esnath Rwambirwa and Tichinani Mavetera from MDC Alliance will also be members.
All members of parliament in the province will also be part of the provincial council as well as two chiefs who are members of the senate.
At its first sitting after every general election, the provincial council must elect a chairperson from a list of at least two qualified persons submitted by a political party which gained the highest number of parliamentary seats in the province.
A person qualifies to be a provincial council chairperson if they are qualified to be elected as members of the senate.
Having been at the helm of power in Masvingo province, Hungwe finds himself in a tight spot as his chances of being elected chairperson of the provincial council are slim.
In the provincial council, Hungwe is likely to be a mere member without much influence as he once possessed when he was Minister of State.
Having played a critical role in the reinstatement of President Mnangagwa after he was booted out in November last year, outgoing party chief whip Matuke will likely be rewarded for his loyalty by being given the post of provincial council chairperson.politics