MIDLANDS province Zanu PF bigwigs Senator Richard Hove and Economic Development minister and MP for Mberengwa East, Rugare Gumbo, are at loggerheads over control of the constituency.
According to highly placed sources in the provincial leadersh
ip, the dispute emanates from the claim that Gumbo wants to remain the only strong man in Mberengwa and Midlands province as a whole.
Gumbo is understood to have fired the Zanu PF Mberengwa district coordinating committee (DCC) and replaced it with his own hand-picked right hand man.
“The problem is that Gumbo wants to remain the strongest man in both Midlands and Mberengwa forgetting that Hove is a political veteran and has been a politburo member for a longer period than him and he is also the senator for both Mberengwa and Zvishavane,” said sources.
The Zimbabwe Independent understands that last month Hove and the provincial chairman Jason Machaya failed to address a Zanu PF meeting at Mataga growth point in Mberengwa East after being booed by party supporters aligned to Gumbo.
When Machaya was contacted for comment he confirmed that there were problems in Mberengwa which surfaced during last year’s Zanu PF primary elections.
“It’s a fact that there are problems in Mberengwa East constituency and these divisions emanate from the 2005 primary elections where Goodwill Shiri lost to Rugare Gumbo,” Machaya said.
“The national chairman and the party national commissar, including the Midlands provincial leadership, are working hard to resolve the Mberengwa issue,” he said.
However, Machaya denied allegations that he was booed by party supporters at the Mataga meeting.
Hove was elusive when contacted to comment on the matter.
“I am sorry mwanangu, I can’t do interviews through the telephone because there are possibilities of being misquoted,” he said.
Gumbo firstly refuted the allegations when contacted but later confirmed divisions in the province.
Asked whether he had an idea about the meeting where his supporters are alleged to have booed Hove and Machaya, Gumbo said: “What I can only say is that we have different opinions, but actually I can’t say there are significant differences and it’s expected in the party.”
“We generally work together with them and I don’t think I can be involved in factionalism because I am politically mature,” he said.
Zanu PF provinces have been rocked by serious divisions arising from politicians’ eagerness to control the party grassroots.