ZANU PF Mashonaland West top activists came to near fist-fights as tempers rose at Thursday’s party Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting to endorse local authority women’s quota candidates.
The caucus held at Chinhoyi Country Club turned riotous after Provincial Affairs Minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka wanted to preside over candidate nomination despite herself being an interested party after having tendered her curriculum vitae (CV) to contest for a Hurungwe Rural District Council slot.
Pandemonium broke out after the minister, who doubles as provincial chairperson, ordered all male PCC members out of the venue arguing they had nothing to do with gender issues, which must be dealt with by Women’s League chaired by Constance Shamu.
The indaba was temporarily adjourned as male members walked out, but Provincial Council member, Martha Munondo-Tafirenyika would have none of that and ordered them back.
The self-proclaimed ‘Lioness of Hurungwe’ by virtue of her lion totem, met her match after militant former youth leader and now Zanu PF Central Committee member, Mike Chimombe also resisted the move and cautioned that respective administrative district leaderships, sitting as elections directorates, were competent to choose and rank candidates by seniority.
This is only when calm was restored, albeit temporarily, as the selection processes again turned violent with administrative district officials who had broken into clusters haggling over submitted names.
Pointedly, the Chinhoyi Municipality list sparked nasty verbal exchanges after there were manoeuvres to sneak in Women’s League provincial executive member, Linda Sauramba’s CV way after deadline arguing she failed to beat set timeline as she was on national duty working with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa on a national outreach.
Also, noisy scenes were witnessed after controversial activist, Ruth ‘Boko Haram’ Chikukwa’s name was reportedly removed from first to second position, and replaced by Magrene Chidarikire thereby jeopardizing chances of her making it into chambers in the opposition-dominated constituency.
Zanu PF Provincial Elections Directorate finalised the list of names Thursday evening, which is expected to be forwarded to Zanu PF Headquarters.
Also present at the event were Deputy National Political Commissar, Webster Shamu and Politburo member, Douglas Mombeshora.
The novel 30% women’s quota system within local councils is designed to increase the number of female politicians in the male-dominated lower-tier devolved government structure.
Most urban local authorities such as Chinhoyi, Kadoma and Chegutu with an average of 15 wards will have five women quota councillors while expansive rural district councils will have nine or more.
In a rare move, Mliswa-Chikoka, who recently lost in Zanu PF parliamentary primary elections, filed her CV for consideration as councillor courtesy of the newly-introduced selection criteria.
The outgoing Hurungwe West MP becomes the latest high-profile sitting legislator to submit her name to contest for councillorship.
The minister surrendered her party rights to retain the Parly seat to activist, Chinjai Kambuzuma via an election result that shocked the body politick.
In her unenviable league are defeated Zanu PF Hurungwe women’s quota lawmaker, Goodluck Kwaramba, Sanyati Proportional Representation MP Josephine Shava and Mhangura MP Precious Chinhamo-Masango.