Minister flees angry party mobs

Larry Mavima
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MIDLANDS Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima was on Saturday forced to flee an angry Zanu PF mob that was protesting against alleged rigging of the ruling party’s primary elections in the Gokwe-Chireya constituency.

Mavhima, who was being accompanied by politburo member Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, had told the crowd gathered at Chief Chireya’s homestead that he was sent by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to preach reconciliation after primary polls held in March heavily divided people in the area.

The meeting was meant to cool tempers in the constituency after chaotic primary polls that saw Torerai Moyo being announced the winner despite losing to Jeremiah Ndukulani by 54 votes, according to the ward command centre results leaked to NewsDay.

The minister, who is also Zanu PF chairperson for Midlands, was not given a chance to address the crowd despite repeated pleas from Chief Chireya.

He was forced to leave in a huff.

Zanu PF supporters in the constituency accused Local Government minister July Moyo and former State Security minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube of working with the Central Intelligence Organisation-linked Forever Associates Zimbabwe to rig the internal party polls in favour of Moyo.

Moyo and Mudha did not attend the meeting where Mavima intended to ask for forgiveness from Zanu PF supporters while drumming up support for Moyo.

All hell broke loose the moment Chief Chireya introduced Moyo as parliamentary candidate.

“When you see him (Mavima), you see the President, when you talk to him, you talk to the President. So I am imploring you to respect and listen to him,” Chief Chireya said.

“We are all in Zanu PF and I know the committed that I invited are well-behaved. Booing each other happens, but at this party meeting, we came to hear what the minister has to say.

“I am the one who invited him to address you. He came here to see the chief, but I asked him to address my people. So why are you booing him before he finishes addressing you?”

However, the chief’s plea seemed to fuel party members’ anger.

After being forced to abandon his address to allow Chief Chireya to calm the crowd, Mavima said: “I have been sent by the President, I will not add or subtract anything. I thank you for finally agreeing to listen.”

But before he went further, the crowd heckled him and the boos got louder. The minister and his entourage immediately left the chief’s homestead.

Zanu PF has been struggling to assemble people for campaign meetings in the Midlands after the chaotic primary polls.

A fortnight ago, another Zanu PF candidate in Gokwe, Flora Buka, who walloped Justice Mayor Wadyajena in the primaries, addressed a paltry crowd of 17 people before ordering traditional leaders to bring their subjects for another meeting, which she said would be addressed by the party’s national commissar Mike Bimha.

In a bid to douse post-primaries fire, Zanu PF youth league secretary Tino Machakaire on Saturday pleaded with feuding party factions to unite ahead of the August polls.

The infighting, that has rocked the ruling party, saw Machakaire visiting Mashonaland West province.

Machakaire, while addressing a Zanu PF youth inter-district meeting in Zvimba South, preached peace and unity.

“Now that the primary elections are over, those that won and the ones who didn’t make it, it’s time to unite towards the goal to support President Mnangagwa in the upcoming harmonised elections for we are one people,” Machakaire said.

He was accompanied by his deputy John Paradza despite recent reports of bad blood between the two.

Zvimba South legislator Phillip Chiyangwa pleaded with party supporters to support Dexter Malinganisa who clobbered him in the primaries.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, and Central Committee member Mike Chimombe also attended the meeting.

Last week, Zanu PF deployed party secretary for security Lovemore Matuke to douse rising tensions across the country.

The recent ban on the use of social media platforms over allegations of fanning divisions has also torched a storm within the ruling Zanu PF party structures ahead of the harmonised elections.

The Zanu PF national security department last week directed all provinces to ban the use of WhatsApp and other social media platforms by its supporters. – News Day