Constantine Chimakure/Augustine Mukaro
ZANU PF’s restructuring exercise in Bindura failed to take off after its national political commissar, Elliot Manyika, alle
gedly tried to influence the outcome of the elections.
Impeccable sources in Bindura said riot police had to be called after party members alleged that Manyika wanted to impose leaders in Chipadze district.
This is not the first time that Manyika was accused of interfering with the ongoing Zanu PF restructuring. Earlier this year, the minister without portfolio failed to oversee the restructuring of Bulawayo and Masvingo provincial executive committees.
During the Masvingo restructuring exercise, former provincial governor Josaya Hungwe and Chivi North MP Enita Maziriri were allegedly assaulted for backing Paul Mangwana as chairman. Manyika was understood to favour Mangwana ahead of the eventual winner, Alex Mudavanhu.
In the latest accusations, Manyika, the sources said, failed twice this month to have people loyal to him and his faction which is campaigning for the continued stay in power of President Robert Mugabe, elected into the Chipadze district.
Manyika, deputy Youth Development minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Labour minister Nicholas Goche reportedly belong to a camp opposed to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s presidential plans.
The sources said the restructuring of Chipadze district was abandoned on September 16 and 23 at Tendai Hall after party members alleged that Manyika had paid officials who formed the electoral college.
Members of the party’s six branches in Bindura make up the electoral college to elect district committee executives.
The aborted exercise was presided over by youth leader Moses Tore.
“After the complaints, some members of the electoral college confirmed having received money from Manyika, leading to the abandonment of the restructuring exercise,” one of the sources said.
The source said Manyika — who represents Bindura in the House of Assembly –— wanted to retain the seat at all costs and needed the district committee to be in his pocket before Zanu PF’s primary elections.
Manyika’s hold on the seat is reportedly under threat from Provincial Governor Ephraim Masawi and war veteran Monica Mavhunga.
“The district executive is very influential in the election of parliamentary candidates. Manyika wants the executive to be under his control to facilitate easy re-election as the party’s parliamentary candidate next year,” the source said.
During the September 16 fiasco, the sources said, it was alleged that Manyika summoned to Harare some members of the branches (names supplied) and gave them money to influence the outcome.
As a result of the allegations, the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) reportedly investigated the allegations.
“The PISI probe was for security purposes. Six members of the various branches had their statements recorded by police,” another source said.
Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Michael Munyikwa said he was not aware of the PISI investigations of Manyika.
“I have checked with Bindura police (urban) and I am told they have no reports of such a case,” Munyikwa said.
Last Sunday, the sources said, members of the party complained that most members of the electoral college had been suspended unprocedurally from the party to bar them from voting. Among those suspended are three Bindura town councillors, Dorcas Chitimbe, Edmore Magasa and one Chirimangombe. Others are George Goriati, Max Manokori, Dixton Wadi and Eliza Longa.
“Manyika and his colleagues want Felix Masumbe and his group to lead the district and they have deliberately suspended people they think will not support their cause,” a senior party official in the province said.
The official said on Sunday, Tore was taken to task by party members and he allegedly confessed that he was under pressure from Manyika to make sure that only people loyal to him are in the district executive.
“The party members wanted to assault Tore and the riot police had to move in to save him,” the official added.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Manyika throughout the week were in vain as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.