|The demise of Zanu Ndonga in Chipinge|
|Sunday, 08 September 2013 00:00|
One of the abiding outcomes of Zimbabwe’s July 31 harmonised elections is the death of regional politics in Chipinge. For a long time, Zanu Ndonga enjoyed popularity in the area. The support, according to political scientists, arose largely from the politics of identity rather than major
As certain political attitudes and perceptions recede, making room for political maturity, it appears most Zimbabweans are now focused on national development.
Since independence, Chipinge has always been seen as a Zanu Ndonga fortress. For a solid 25 years, Zanu-PF failed to wrest Chipinge from the grip of the 48-year-old political party. Under the leadership of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, Zanu Ndonga won in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000.
Such eminent people as Chief Musikavanhu, Cde David Zamchiya and Dr Leonard Tsumba, a former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, all failed, on a Zanu-PF ticket, to wrest the Chipinge South seat from Zanu Ndonga.
Zanu-PF, however, “broke the duck” during the 2005 Parliamentary elections when its youthful candidate, Cde Enock Porusingazi, romped to victory, defeating Zanu Ndonga’s Wilson Kumbula, who garnered a paltry 2 129.
Cde Porusingazi managed 16 412 votes with the MDC’S Elia Makotore getting 12 163 votes. The death of Rev Sithole in 2000, which resulted in serious infighting, marked the gradual demise of the party. The squabbles began in August 1999 when Rev Sithole expelled six senior party leaders whom he accused of plotting against the party.
Since then, infighting has been the order of the day in Zanu Ndonga. The final nail in the political party’s coffin was hammered during the 2013 harmonised elections that saw Zanu-PF reclaiming the three Chipinge parliamentary seats. During a recent visit to Chipinge, The Sunday Mail interviewed the three victorious Zanu-PF candidates who were adamant that the Chipinge seats will remain Zanu-PF domains “forever”.
The winning candidates said Zanu Ndonga has suffered a “slow and natural death”. Cde Porusingazi, now the National Assembly Member for Chipinge South, said it was not easy to dislodge Zanu Ndonga from its traditional stronghold.
“Unseating Zanu Ndonga from its traditional stronghold was not easy. As an aspiring candidate, I started running a parallel programme in which I repaired roads, drilled boreholes and even helped bury people using my own funds. In fact, I was the constituency’s de facto MP since 2009. I could equate the traditional Zanu Ndonga supporters to fierce lions. One had to think twice before approaching them.”
The history-making politician-cum-businessman said despite the victory he would not relax but work towards uplifting the standards of living of the people in this drought-prone constituency.
“There is no time for us to rest on our laurels. As Zanu-PF, we have an unmatched thirst to fulfil the people’s needs. I would want to make sure that all the promises that we made to our people are fulfilled.”
Cde Raymore Machingura, the National Assembly Member for Chipinge Central, vowed that Zanu-Ndonga will never be allowed “to set foot” on Chipinge Central again.
“As a party and Government, we are always ready and available for the people. We are not leaving any stone unturned as we seek to improve our people’s livelihoods. Zanu Ndonga belongs to the archives,” he said.
Cde Machingura said Chipinge Central, which encompasses Chipinge town, has a very bad road network and the town is also facing water problems. Cde Machingura won the July 31 elections, polling 12 995, which is about 71 percent of the total vote.
Of the 14 Chipinge urban wards, Zanu-PF won 13 with the remaining ward going to the MDC-T.
“As a political party, Zanu-Ndonga is dead and buried. The party does not have any structures to talk about,” said Dr Mlambo.
“Zanu Ndonga is coming up. We are going to have our congress at the end of this year to elect good leadership. People are saying to us you are the party in which national politics started. Do not let us down. They should not lose heart, we are coming up,” Mr Semwayo predicted. However, after the announcement of the 2013 election results, it seems the dream might never come true.