As the battle to represent Zanu PF ahead of the forthcoming Kwekwe Central by-elections continues to heat up, youthful ruling party politician and miner, Energy ‘Dhala’ Ncube, appears to have chosen to travel the same paths treaded by the late National Patriotic Front (NPF) legislator, Masango ‘Blackman’ Matambanadzo, in the pursuit of ensuring that he wins the hearts of the electorate in the potentially explosive impending polls, Zwnews reports.
Dhala is embroiled in a dog-eat-dog tussle with losing Zanu PF 2018 parliamentary candidate, Kandros Mugabe, to grab the sole ticket of representing the ruling party in the forthcoming by-elections which were birthed by the demise of the late popular NPF Member of Parliament in July this year.
Although Mugabe- who is also a miner and leader of the Zvipo ZveMweya Apostolic Church- was widely regarded the ‘automatic’ ruling party candidate as the party’s shadow MP, the dramatic decision by the 26-year old Dhala to challenge the controversial cleric’s candidature appears to have changed the face of Zanu PF politics in Kwekwe.
And, in a bid to ensure that registered voters from Kwekwe Central Constituency will ballot in his favour in the event that he gets the nod to represent the ruling party in the much awaited by-elections, Dhala as Ncube is widely known, seems to be singing from the same hymnbook with the late Blackman.
A few months after declaring his interests to contest for the Kwekwe Central seat, Dhala has not only managed to reach out to the late MP’s supporters from the mining town’s oldest neighborhood of Amaveni- he has also managed to get the endorsement of ‘the bouncer’ whose infamy was spending hours while carrying the late self-confessed Grade Two dropout on his shoulders.
This has, however, been interpreted as an endorsement of the miner-cum-politician by the late Blackman who, in 2018, made history by becoming the only candidate to win an election on the ticket of the NPF- a renegade breakaway outfit of aggrieved former Zanu PF officials fighting against the ascension of incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the top political post on the land.
Mnangagwa replaced the late long-ruling Robert Mugabe following a military-assisted takeover euphemistically referred to as Operation Restore Legacy by authorities in Harare.
But, a few months after Mugabe’s departure, Blackman was dismissed from the ruling party on allegations that he belonged to the G40: a Zanu PF faction that was viciously opposed to Mnangagwa’s succession motives.
But, for all the plaudits and controversies associated with the late popular legislator, Blackman hogged the media limelight after he addressed a rally while comfortably perched on the shoulders of his bodyguard- an amateur boxer who answers to the name Burden Mawire.
The late NPF legislator’s bodyguard was also amongst the Zanu PF youths who were arrested for having participated in the violence which led to the abandonment of the primary elections pitting archrivals Dhala and Mugabe.
Mawire recently carried Dhala on his shoulders at the Zanu PF Kwekwe district headquarters in what has largely been viewed as Blackman’s posthumous endorsement of the ambitious Zanu PF politician.
Not even Tafadzwa Ziso, an aspiring NPF candidate who has assured the voting citizenry from Kwekwe Central that the legacy of their much adored departed MP ‘lives on’ has had the ‘previledge’ of being carried on the shoulders of Mawire- the man bizzarely understood to be holding the keys to the House of Assembly as far as the forthcoming by-elections are concerned.
There are even others- extremists in the ruling Zanu PF- who even superstitiously believe that the endorsement of Dhala as Kwekwe’s next MP was spiritually okayed by the late lawmaker.
“Dhala seems to be having the blessings of Matambanadzo and when Burden (Mawire) carried the aspiring MP on his shoulders at a rally, that was largely viewed as symbolic and a posthumous endorsement by the late parliamentarian,” said a Zanu PF member who spoke to Zwnews.
“Dhala seems to be having the blessings of Matambanadzo’s wife and as such you cannot count out the influence of the late legislator from the grave. Even after that incident when Burden carried Dhala on his shoulders, the interpretation was that this was symbolic: he had been posthumously endorsed by the late Blackman,” he said.
In his response to the public backlash that he received from members of the public after addressing a rallly while sitting on Mawire’s shoulders, Blackman justified himself saying people took turns to carry him as there was no podium at the venue.
“We were at a rally and there was no podium for me to stand so people took turns to carry me. It’s only that only one picture is circulating but there are other different pictures of people carrying me on their shoulders,” said Matambanadzo in 2018.
“It was not abuse like what is being said on social media; people volunteered to do so out of excitement,” he said, back then.
But the sticking question that remains to be answered is: Are the actions of the bouncer really symbolic and akin to the late Blackman’s after-life endorsement of Energy Ncube- a mere 26 year old who could break history by becoming, perhaps, the youngest parliamentarian the city of Kwekwe has ever had since Independence in 1980?
But, this feat could only be achievable if Dhala not only gets past Mugabe in the fierce intraparty tug-of-war, he faces a bogey rival in the person of Judith Tobaiwa of Nelson Chamisa’s opposition MDC Alliance.