As the ruling Zanu PF party gears for its potentially divisive and explosive primary elections slated for this weekend, the rivalry between the humiliatingly deposed former state security minister Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube’s nephew, Energy Dhala Ncube and cleric Kandros Mugabe has been rekindled in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s hometown of Kwekwe.
Whilst other ruling party contenders in the impending 18 March intraparty polls could not be immediately verified during the time of publishing Monday morning, this publication has it on good authority that the pair of Mugabe and Dhala will once again face head-on in a bid to grab the Zanu PF sole candidature ahead of harmonised elections which Mnangagwa is expected to announce soon.
On the eve of the Kwekwe Central by-elections last year, Zanu PF dramatically disqualified the two aspirants on grounds that they were responsible for the violence that had gripped the ruling party in the Midlands mining town- a move that was viewed by many as hugely unfair to Mugabe, who had emerged victorious in the eventually aborted primaries that were characterised by violent clashes at the Zanu PF Kwekwe district headquarters.
The party ended up fielding a debatably weaker candidate in the person of former Kwekwe deputy mayor and miner, John Mapurazi.
The later embarrassingly fell to Judith Tobaiwa of the Nelson Chamisa-led main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party.
During the time of publishing, it was not yet clear if Mapurazi still habours the interests of contesting in the weekend primaries.
Dhala- walking in the shadow of an influential uncle
Unlike Mugabe, Dhala has the backing of his politically influential uncle, Mudha. The Mudha camp also has several proxies of President Mnangagwa, notably Local Government Minister July Moyo, who is the party’s Shadow MP for Redcliff Constituency.
“Mugabe has largely been depending on the sympathy of party loyalists who feel that he is being unfairly treated by members of the Mudha camp. There is a feeling that his disqualification in the by-elections last year was deficient of justice- it was a cruel decision against the Zvipo ZveMweya church leader (Mugabe). It is an open secret that despite their influence in the politics of the ruling party in Kwekwe, both Mudha and Minister Moyo are not popular with Zanu PF supporters in the town,” said a Zanu PF source.
Once regarded as the chief financier of ruling party programmes in the Midlands Province, Mugabe has defiantly stood his ground despite the animosity he has been subjected to, at the behest of the Mudha camp.
“WHAT IS QUITE CLEAR TO THEM (MINISTER MOYO AND MUDHA) IS THAT KANDROS (MUGABE) HAS THE FULL SUPPORT OF ORDINARY MEMBERS OF THE RULING PARTY IN KWEKWE AND ALSO THAT THERE ARE QUITE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE FROM THE OPPOSITION WHO SYMPATHISE WITH HIM FOR HIS SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVES. FOR THIS REASON, THEY WANT TO BLOCK HIM FROM CONTESTING IN KWEKWE CENTRAL (in 2023),” a SOURCE told Zwnews last year.
“IF YOU STILL REMEMBER, THAT WAS THE SAME CAMP THAT PLANTED (INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE AND LAWYER, JOSINIAH) MAUPA TO DERAIL MUGABE’S PARLIAMENTARY ASPIRATIONS IN 2018. THEY ALSO USED DHALA BEFORE SWITCHING TO JOHN MAPURAZI IN THE KWEKWE CENTRAL BY-ELECTIONS WHICH WERE EVENTUALLY WON BY THE OPPOSITION (in) MAY. TO THEM, IT DOESN’T MATTER EVEN IF ZANU PF LOSES THE SEAT TO THE CCC- ALL THEY DO NOT WANT TO SEE IS KANDROS MUGABE,
A week is a long time in politics
So prophetic and straight-to-the-point was the former British Prime Minister, James Harold Wilson when he remarked that ‘a week is a long time in politics’.
Indeed, this week will prove to be a very long time in the internal politics of the ruling party in general and Kwekwe Central Constituency in particular, as the two aspiring Zanu PF candidates will not have enough time to solicit for the much needed electoral support ahead of the weekend primaries.
It all remains to be seen how both Mugabe and Dhala will make use of the remaining five days to grab the party’s sole candidature in this year’s harmonised elections.