BULAWAYO Zanu PF structures meet today to prepare for potentially explosive elections for a new provincial executive likely to follow the changing power dynamics in the party.
City businessman Elifasi Mashaba is believed to be eyeing the chairmanship post and has reportedly started canvassing for support to replace incumbent Callistus Ndlovu who is not contesting.
However, Mashaba denied interest in the post saying he was waiting for today’s provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting set to discuss the regulations and eligibility of those intending to take part.
“I am not interested in the post,” Mashaba said.
“Why don’t you wait for Sunday (today) when the PCC meets and discusses the issue? It is after the PCC (decision) people would know whether or not they qualify to contest.”
Ndlovu was handpicked by the Zanu PF politburo as provincial chairperson in April this year replacing Killian Sibanda following a fact-finding mission led by the party’s national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to investigate rampant factionalism in the province.
Party insiders, however, said more names were expected to pop up after today’s meeting.
In Matabeleland North, provincial chairperson Richard Moyo, believed to be an ally of Transport minister Obert Mpofu, would be seeking re-election.
Moyo told Southern Eye he was not aware if anyone challenging him.
“I do not know who else is interested in the post. We will find out at the PCC on Sunday (today),” he said.
Moyo was elected provincial chairperson in the run-up to the Zanu PF conference in Gweru in 2012.
He won the contest after his rival, Patrick Utete, reportedly an ally of former Matabeleland North governor Thokozile Mathuthu, conceded defeat before the conclusion of polls with 139 out of the party’s 181 districts having cast their votes.
The province had gone for two years without a substantive chairperson following a vote of no confidence in Zenzo Ncube in November 2010.
Zwelitsha Masuku, who deputised Ncube, was appointed acting provincial chairperson, but suspended in November 2011 for allegedly acting outside party regulations.
However, party insiders said Masuku’s suspension was a culmination of a turf war between Mpofu and Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo.
Masuku was replaced by Mathuthu who acted as provincial chairperson until the polls.
Matabeleland South provincial chairperson Andrew Langa was non-committal on whether or not he would seek re-election.
“We will hold elections in 30 days’ time and as a democratic party we will allow whoever qualifies to contest for any position of their choice. We will not impose anyone,” Langa, who was recently appointed Sport, Arts and Culture minister, said.
“Whether I will contest or not, will be determined by the electorate.”