HARARE – The battle to represent the ruling Zanu PF party in Parliamentary and local authority elections hots up as business tycoons and the youths have taken interests and are stampeding for tickets to represent the ruling party in the forthcoming polls.
Political experts said the interest by the rich and famous to represent Zanu PF may be a sign that those in business are buying into President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s economic focus since he took office.
However, others said the interest by some may be to protect their loot through acquiring necessary political muscle.
Among the many contesting for a ticket to represent Zanu PF is Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube who is seeking to solidify his political muscle after he was recently appointed into the coveted politburo by the President.
Ncube came into the Mnangagwa administration as a technocrat whose vast knowledge of financial issues made him the right candidate for the job that needed such expertise to take the struggling economy out of the mess.
Foreign Affairs Minister Fredrick Shava, a respected diplomat who is currently spearheading the country’s engagement and re-engagement drive is also vying for a Senatorial seat in the Midlands province.
Businessman Scott Sakupwanya who has interests in mining among other ventures is eyeing Mabvuku Constituency a year after he was elected as councillor in one of the suburb’s wards. Another businessman who is eyeing a top post is Economic Empowerment Group (EEG) president Mike Chimombe who is set to become Senator in Mashonaland West province.
Caps United FC owner and businessman Farai Jere is contesting in Murewa while another businessman and farmer Basil Nyabadza is vying for a Parliamentary seat in Makoni Central.
Former Zanu PF Youth League boss Kudzanai Chipanga is seeking a return to Parliament and handed his CV to stand in Headlands Constituency.
Several party youths have also shown interest in what observers say was a positive response to Mnangagwa’s policies that they argue are resonating with the young people.
However, others said the interest shown by other business people was a strategy to seek political protection for their loot.
Analyst Rashweat Mukundu said: “We are seeing the capture of the party by shady characters, some with criminal backgrounds and involved in all sorts of illicit deals seeking to consolidate protection of their business interests by political power and cover.” – Business Times