Mujuru faction rules roost

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Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru

THE Zanu PF faction linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru emerged victorious in the party’s national youth executive elections held at the weekend.

EVERSON MUSHAVA
CHIEF REPORTER

The elections, which ended in the early hours of yesterday were characterised by massive vote-buying, a factor which President Robert Mugabe admitted in his closing speech delivered just after 4am.

Makoni West MP Kudzi Chipanga became Zanu PF’s new deputy secretary for youth affairs after beating Tongai Kasukuwere from Mashonaland Central.

Chipanga, who is reportedly linked to the Mujuru faction, polled 1 381 votes against Kasukuwere’s 926, propelling him into the politburo.

Kasukuwere, brother to Environment, Water and Climate Change minister Saviour Kasukuwere, reportedly belongs to a faction linked to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The second most powerful position — secretary for administration — was won by Harare East losing parliamentary candidate Varaidzo Mupunga, also said to be in the Mujuru camp.

She polled 1 413 votes, trouncing Lewis Matutu of the Midlands who garnered 891 votes.

Matutu is a Midlands State University student linked to the Mnangagwa faction and was initially set to contest the deputy secretary’s position.

He chickened out at the last minute to make way for Kasukuwere.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed Chipanga’s victory.

Chipanga also enjoys strong support from Presidential Affairs minister and Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.

Mutasa himself has not ruled out contesting the Zanu PF chairperson’s position currently held by Simon Khaya Moyo who looks set to be elevated to second vice-president at the December elective congress.

Mupunga, Kasukuwere, Matutu and Masvingo’s Yeukai Simbanegavi (finance), John Mushayi of Mashonaland East (political commissar), Bulawayo’s Mpehleyabo Malinga (external relations), Tungamirai Matonhodze from Mashonaland West (security), Matabeleland North’s Aleck Nyakuwara (transport) and Matabeleland South’s Evelyn Mpofu (information) will become central committee members.

Mugabe, who earlier on admitted to factional fights, in his closing remarks in the wee hours of yesterday said he was aware the polls were marred by vote-buying and manipulation by party bigwigs.

“I know there have been hitches. I know other party hawks tried all they could to use money to influence the outcome of the vote,” Mugabe said.

“If you are manipulated by money, you are spoiled already. To me you don’t deserve to be a youth league leader at all.

“If you accept to be bought by money, you are rubbish! You are more also, just rubbish as the person who has given you the money; both of you, the giver and the given are alike.”

Zanu PF is embroiled in serious infighting as the race to succeed Mugabe gathers momentum. Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa deny accusations that they lead factions.