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Will Chiyangwa’s money translate into votes?

CHINHOYI constituency has been the bedrock of Zanu PF politics in Mashonaland West province for a long time.

BY NUNURAI JENA

There has been massive jostling in both Zanu PF and MDC-T in the past weeks as candidates fight for a ticket to represent their parties in the harmonised elections slated for next month.

One candidate, flamboyant bus-inessman-cum-politician Philip
Chiyangwa has shown visibility and decided to live true to the proverb that the early bird catches the worm.

He has been covering the length and breadth of Chinhoyi constituency in search of the people’s votes ahead of elections.

“I’m the people’s choice in Chinhoyi,” boasted Chiyangwa. “An MDC-T MP failed to represent my constituency during my absence from politics and let me warn him that I’m back with a bang.”

True to his word, Chiyangwa has taken Chinhoyi by storm.
The businessman recently donated seven piglets; three hundred chicks and US$340 airtime for resale to each of the 15 wards in the constituency.

He also brought the farming town to a standstill when he recently sponsored a musical concert dubbed Vhara Gedhi.

In order to appeal to the young vote, Chiyangwa enticed man of the moment, Jah Prayzah and Dendera King Sulumani Chimbetu, who performed to a packed Chinhoyi stadium a fortinight ago.

But some Chinhoyi residents are not moved by Chiyangwa’s flaunting of wealth a month before the harmonised elections.

Nathan Buruwuru of Chikonohono high-density suburb said the wealthy businessman was a “foreigner” in Chinhoyi and must not be supported.
He said Chiyangwa, former provincial chairperson, will only prevail if MDC-T fields a candidate like the sitting MP, Stewart Garadhi, who has been accused of failing to deliver promises he made previously.
Garadhi, who could not be reached for comment this week, failed the MDC-T confirmation process recently.

“Political parties should field candidates who are worthy their salt as this time around we will be looking at the calibre of candidates, not where that candidate is coming from,” said Buruwuru.

But for Chiyangwa to fight it out with a candidate from MDC-T he has to shrug off challenges from potential Zanu PF primary candidates, governor Faber Chidarikire, Mathew Magureyi, councillor Richard Chafausipo and Samuel Mvurume.

Chiyangwa however, has an edge above other contestants in terms of resources.

If Chiyangwa manages to win in the Zanu PF primaries, he is likely to face either Garadhi or former executive mayor, Peter Matarutse who goes into MDC-T primary elections with the MP.
Chiyangwa previously represented the Chinhoyi constituency in Parliament.

He however lost the seat following his arrest on espionage charges, before he was cleared by the courts in 2005.

Whether Chiyangwa’s resources will translate into votes or not is anyone’s guess.

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