HARARE – Zanu PF’s Mashonaland Central provincial chairman Kazembe Kazembe and Bindura North lawmaker Kenneth Shupikai Musanhi nearly came to blows on Saturday after trading sabotage accusations during an inquest into poor attendance at an event for first lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF’s Mashonaland Central party is riven by factionalism, and this was the second time that Mnangagwa – who hails from the province but became an MP in the Midlands after marrying the president – has faced embarrassment.
Saturday’s event in Bindura was supposed to be a family fun day which she said was designed to “promote economic development through sport tourism.”
The event should have started at 10AM but was delayed for three hours, two of them spent in a briefing room during which Mnangagwa hectored local officials for poor organisation and demanded that political commissar Monica Mavhunga, who’s also the provincial affairs minister, “should be sacked immediately”.
A source who attended the meeting told ZimLive: “Kazembe and Musanhi exchanged harsh words and were literally restrained to avoid a physical altercation. There was a dispute over who was to blame over the low turnout.
“Musanhi at one point told Kazembe that ‘ndokum*****’, and he in turn shot back saying, ‘age haina basa topedzarana pa fight’ (age doesn’t matter, let’s settle this in a fight). They were restrained by Mashonaland Central provincial state intelligence officers.”
Kazembe is also the minister of Information Communication Technology.
Mnangagwa was disappointed to find a small crowd of mainly school children who were forced to attend.
The Musanhi faction, our source said, “is not happy with the Kazembe team which also includes Perrance Shiri (Agriculture Minister) holding many positions at national and provincial level.”
The grouping, which enjoys popular support, is reported to be growingly hostile to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership and is resisting moves by his wife to impose herself as the “godmother” of the party in the province.
In March, Auxillia Mnangagwa went to Mazowe Central constituency in the province saying she wanted to identify projects to support.
On being advised that local MP Sydney Chidamba was present as well as Chief Lucious Chitsinde Negomo, she told her security aides that she did not want to see the two.
The removal of the chief and MP was not a straightforward matter, however, as they both left shouting invectives in the first lady’s direction, vowing never to attend or promote her events.