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‘Mash Central delegates walk out over Kazembe’

Kazembe Kazembe

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa was reportedly “embarrassed” at last week’s Zanu PF elective congress after delegates from Mashonaland Central province protested over their provincial chairperson Kazembe Kazembe’s alleged dictatorial tendencies.

Sources who attended the congress, told NewsDay that delegates from Mashonaland Central province walked out just before Mnangagwa’s speech protesting his failure to rein in Kazembe.

“We were embarrassed at the congress after Mashonaland Central delegates left their bay when party national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri had started proceedings to introduce President Mnangagwa to the podium. They were displaying their anger over Kazembe who is being accused of dictatorial tendencies in the province,” the source said.

“The delegates want Mnangagwa to fire Kazembe as provincial leader saying he has divided the province.”

Zanu PF party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa dismissed the allegations.

“Delegates are allowed to go to the toilets. These are spiteful people who some time ago were saying there was going to be fireworks at the congress,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Those people who predicted fireworks are the same people who are saying bad things about the congress. That is hogwash, the people of Mashonaland Central are the most loyal party supporters in the country.”

Kazembe, who is also Home Affairs minister and is regarded as one of Mnangagwa’s close allies, did not answer calls yesterday.

Meanwhile, government yesterday hit back at the United Kingdom (UK) which recently cast doubt over the holding of free and fair polls in Zimbabwe next year given the electoral violence that characterised recent by-elections.

The issue was debated last week in the British House of Lords, where UK’s Minister of State and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Lord Zac Goldsmith of Richmond Park said little progress had been made in implementing electoral reforms recommended by international observer missions.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services ministry secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana described the UK debate as smear campaign against Zimbabwe.

Mangwana said the UK must recuse itself from observing the 2023 polls. 

“When a country or institution starts smearing an election that is nine months away, then later asks to come and observe that election, aren’t they providing a moral reason to be excluded? Is it unreasonable to conclude that their mind is made up and nothing will change it?” Mangwana said.

“Surely, if this was a court of law, someone would be asked to recuse themselves. Since this is not one, we can only ask them to do the right thing by standing down and not making the request to observe our elections on the grounds of their prejudices and biases.”

Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “Our elections do not need British validation to be credible. The government that is formed after elections is not a British government nor does it serve British citizens. It is a Zimbabwean government and serves Zimbabweans.”

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