21 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Chiyangwa Replaced

ZANU-PF Mashonaland West province has chosen a new provincial vice chairperson after businessman Philip Chiyangwa was blocked earlier this year from occupying the post by the party's Politburo, fuelling divisions in the region.

Chiyangwa had been elected to deputise provincial chairperson, John Mafa, but the Politburo nullified the election and ruled that the latter would remain as an ordinary member of the party until further notice.

A new vice chairperson, Christopher Shumba, has now been elected ahead of Hurungwe senator, Reuben Marumahoko.

Marumahoko was the acting provincial chairperson following the death of then provincial leader Robbie Sikanyika.

Before his elevation, albeit in an acting capacity, Marumahoko was the provincial vice chairperson.

Currently the Deputy Minister for Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Marumahoko participated in the January polls to choose a new substantive chairperson for the province but lost to Mafa.

ZANU-PF insiders said Marumahoko was not happy with the latest turn of events. They say he is of the opinion that he should have been allowed to go back to his position on grounds that he had moved temporarily to act as chairperson following Sikanyika's death.

The Hurungwe senator had proceeded to petition Mafa saying he was now reverting to his old position, but his plans were scuttled by the provincial executive.

"That position was filled by Shumba some time ago. Someone might have been interested but it does not mean that it was going to be automatic," said Mafa when contacted for comment this week.

Mafa has not been happy with attempts by ZANU-PF bigwigs to campaign for Marumahoko to lead the province.

In June this year, Mafa wrote to ZANU-PF's national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, accusing Ignatius Chombo, the party's secretary for land resettlement and Webster Shamu, the party's national political commissar of having attempted to unilaterally impose Marumahoko, by way of co-option, as vice chairperson of the province at a Provincial Coordinating Committee meeting on May 19.

"This attempted co-option is in contravention of the provisions of the party's constitution with regards to co-option as stated in Article 29 (General Provisions), Clause 250, which stipulates the manner in which co-options are conducted," Mafa had argued in his letter.

Despite being barred from occupying the deputy chairperson's post, Chiyangwa still intends to stand on the party ticket for the Chinhoyi seat at the next elections. He previously represented the Chinhoyi constituency in Parliament but lost the seat following his arrest on espionage charges, before he was cleared by the courts in 2005.

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