THE arrest of minister of State for Masvingo Ezra Chadzamira earlier this week has left a faction aligned to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in shock, blaming the dramatic development on rivals aligned to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who want to topple the provincial leader at upcoming Zanu-PF elections.
The arrest came a day after a high-powered meeting held in Gutu which was not attended by Chadzamira and his close allies. The meeting was allegedly hosted by a politburo member linked to the Chiwenga faction.
Mnangagwa allies are of the view that the arrest of Chadzamira is politically motivated since what he is doing is similar to what other ruling party leaders are doing. They said everyone has the right to get land so the reversal of a list of beneficiaries of the Kilimanjaro sugarcane plot project shows that Chiwenga is working to prop up his faction.
Chadzamira was briefly arrested on Monday by investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for alleged abuse of office and corruption involving land in the province. He became the first person to be arrested after the corruption watchdog opened office in Masvingo last week.
A top ruling party official in the province told The NewsHawks that Chadzamira, a top ally of Mnangagwa, is facing unendless fights from people aligned to Chiwenga and other perceived opponents who are eyeing his position as minister of State and party provincial chairperson. He said the timing of the arrest is indicative of the motive.
“This is sensitive, but what l can tell you is that his deputy, Rabson Mavenyengwa and Masvingo North MP Davies Marapira are eyeing his position. The two as well as another bigwig from Gutu are believed to be behind this guy’s misfortunes. There was a meeting last Sunday in Gutu where the other faction was positioning its members with a view to announcing who will take what at the upcoming provincial coordinating committee elections,” the official said.
Marapira, who is also the minister of State in charge of Monitoring The Implementation of Special Agricultural and Related Programmes in Mnangagwa’s office, told The NewsHawks that his official responsibilities cannot allow him to be the Zanu-PF chairperson for Masvingo.
He said he is always busy with government business and does not have time to hate Chadzamira.
“That is speculation which is untrue. I am always busy with my government duties so l cannot be a party chairman. I don’t have time to hate colleagues, but let me tell you one thing, there is nothing like a faction. Yhe President is for everyone and no one is too close to him. If you hear people saying that, they are are liars,” Marapira said.
Mavenyengwa, a former police intelligence head for Masvingo province and current MP for Zaka North, dismissed allegations that he is aligned to any faction. He said he is not willing to challenge Chadzamira, but people within the province are the ones asking him to vie for the post. He also confirmed that there was a meeting in Gutu on Sunday but he did not attend it and was not aware of what was discussed.
A top government official in Masvingo told The NewsHawks that the President is the one seen as shielding Chadzamira from Zacc.
The official said the government foiled the first attempt to arrest him in April and on Monday prosecutors in Masvingo were instructed via phone call from the National Prosecuting Authority head office in Harare not to proceed with the case.
“I don’t have intentions to challenge Chadzamira in the upcoming provincial party elections. People from various quarters are urging me to do that, but l am not interested. I am also not a member of any faction, l am a party member who will never work to put others in trouble. I heard there was a meeting on Sunday in Gutu, but l went to church during that day so l am not aware of what was discussed at the meeting,” Mavenyengwa said.
The NewsHawks understands that Chadzamira, who is also the ruling party’s provincial chairperson for Masvingo, is facing three counts, one involving a Chiredzi white farmer Tony Sappor and Tungamirai Rukatya. The two complainants entered into a joint venture, but their productive farm was recently subdivided and given to other people believed to be linked to Chadzamira.
Sappor and Rukatya are among the complainants who filed cases against the minister. The other complainant is only identified as Mago from Masvingo. Another aggrieved person was removed from a list of people who were set to benefit from the Kilimanjaro sugarcane project in Chiredzi