By Beatific Gumbwanda
CHIREDZI – Three candidates who were contesting for positions in the upcoming Zanu PF District Coordination Committee (DCC) elections have pulled out at the 11th hour due to what some party insiders believe is a matter of intimidation.
The DCC elections will be held over the weekend from 05-06 December.
Eustina Magocha (Ward 18) and Runesu Mangwau (Ward 28) vied for vice chairmanship post but withdrew from the race to pave the way for education inspector Norman Sharara who in 2018 contested in the Chiredzi West parliamentary primaries but was defeated by current Member of Parliament (MP) Farai Musikavanhu.
Tamirira Chayambuka of Ward 6, who contested for the position of secretary of welfare for disabled and disadvantaged persons, also withdrew from the race for unclear reasons.
The DCC structures, which were abandoned by former president, the later Robert Mugabe a few years ago due to their alleged divisive nature, are being hotly contested in the party as they are considered influential arbiters of faction power in the crisis-prone ruling party.
Musikavanhu, who was recently co-opted into the Masvingo Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) as secretary for finance, announced the trio’s withdrawal on Zanu PF local WhatsApp group where most members cautiously welcomed the development.
“Good morning comrades. I would like to inform you that in the spirit of harmony and team work to further consolidate the strength of our revolutionary party Zanu PF in Chiredzi West Constituency and Chiredzi District at large following comrades have officially withdrawn from the DCC Elections,” wrote Musikavanhu.
Musikavanhu initially had ambitions for the DCC chairmanship but was persuaded to stand down before being co-opted into the PCC in what was seen as a delicate act of balancing and appeasement.
The withdrawal of Magocha, Mangwau and Chayambuka from the race, however, raised the concern of other party members who are worried about a supposed shrinking of democratic space in the party.
“If they were not coerced to resign through one way or another, I salute the comrades though such last-minute-decisions affect the electorate that had already committed their votes towards the said comrades,” said one party member.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial secretary for information and publicity, Ronald Ndava said they made consultations with candidates who withdrew from the race ostensibly due to intimidation.
“We made consultations with those who withdrew from the race thinking they had been coerced or intimidated in any form but it seems they voluntarily paved way for their cadres to avoid vote-splitting,” said Ndava.