Among the bigwigs who face challenges are ailing party politburo member and Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge, Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi.
Mudenge will face a challenge from Zanu PF returnee, retired Army Major Kudzai Mbudzi.
Mbudzi, a former Mavambo senior official, has confirmed that he is interested in challenging Mudenge in Masvingo North.
“I have come back to Zanu PF and this time I want to stand in Masvingo North,” declared Mbudzi, a former Zanu PF provincial information secretary.
Mzembi, who is riding high after being crowned the Tourism African Minister of the Year, may not have it easy in Masvingo South constituency.
An army colonel, Philip Toperesu, is eyeing his constituency, sources in Zanu PF said.
Toperesu could not be reached for a comment but a party official said it was an open secret that he wanted to stand in the constituency if elections are held. In a telephone interview, Mzembi said he would “not lose sleep over someone dreaming to be a legislator.”
Mangwana, who is the MP for Chivi Central constituency, faces a challenge from one Ephraim Gwanongodza, who also hails from the same constituency.
Sources said the challenger, a trade unionist, has the backing of a powerful Zanu PF Chivi clique that is against Mangwana.
“Of all the senior guys, it is Mangwana who faces the greatest challenge,” said another source. “Gwanongodza is a little known political quantity but has the blessings of senior officials who also hail from Chivi.” Former Masvingo Governer Josiah Hungwe is thought to be among these officials.
Gwanongodza was very confident that he would beat Mangwana in the party’s primary elections when The Standard reached him for a comment.
“I am no pushover,” said Gwanongodza. “I am here to put up a spirited fight in the race to represent Zanu PF.”
But Mangwana was equally confident.
“The door is open, everyone is allowed to campaign and stand, but I am ready for the challenge,” he said. “I am always on the ground.”
In Masvingo Urban, a seat which the MDC-T has held on to, Zanu PF losing candidate Joosbie Omar’s name has been touted for a potential contest with TeleAccess boss, Daniel Shumba.
Shumba, who recently returned to Zanu PF, could not be reached for comment but Omar expressed interest.
Jostling for posts heightened after Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu said there should be no imposition of candidates.