Former central bank governor Gideon Gono’s chances of bagging the Manicaland Province senate seat remains bleak following reports that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front provincial leadership in Manicaland has recommended former central intelligence officer Shadreck Chipanga for the seat.
Chipanga was on the party list submitted in the 2013 elections. Gono was not.
The ZANU-PF politburo, however, endorsed Gono for the seat following the death of Kumbirai Kangai in August 2013 but the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Rita Makarau said Gono did not qualify because he was not registered as a voter in Manicaland.
Although the politburo accepted the ZEC ruling it tasked then secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa to look into the issue. Mnangagwa still holds the party post but has since been elevated to vice-president of the party.
Apart from the constitutional obstacle, Gono was said to belong to the faction led by then Vice-President Joice Mujuru with secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa vowing that Gono would become senator whether people liked it or not.
“The politburo wants Dr Gono to be a Senator and if it means that the law would be amended, then let it be. No one will reverse the decision of the politburo. We will ensure that the law fits with the requirements of the party. Ukaona vakuru vachitadziswa kuenda pachigaro nekuda kwevaduku, then there is something wrong,” Mutasa said.
Gono said that he does not belong to any faction but that of President Robert Mugabe, a statement that was described by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as preposterous because Mugabe does not lead any faction.
Mutasa and Mujuru were both kicked out of the politburo and the party’s central committee at the party’s December congress.
Manicaland ZANU-PF acting chairman Samuel Undenge said the province had officially written to the party notifying it that the province had unanimously chosen Chipanga for the seat.
He told the Sunday Mail: “The province unanimously agreed that Cde Shadreck Chipanga should be the Senator for Manicaland. We made this decision at our last PCC meeting that was held two weeks ago.
“We have written to the party HQ to inform them about the decision that we have taken. We expect that they will accept our decision and forge ahead with the necessary processes.
“Cde Chipanga is a central committee member and a very senior member in the party. He is a war veteran who was a commander during the war. So he was chosen because of his seniority and long service in the party,” he said.
Undenge said that there seemed to be some misunderstanding that the senate seat was for Buhera. It was not. It was for Manicaland province.
“I also want to make it clear that the senate seat that we are talking about is not the senate seat for Buhera, but it is referred to as senate seat for Manicaland Province. The Constitution is very clear that senators are elected to be provincial representatives and that is why they are also selected at provincial level,” he said.
Under the constitution, the seat has to be filled by a ZANU-PF, male candidate. Once the party had filed a nomination the ZEC must gazette details of the nominee and name a period within which any voter may lodge a written objection to the nomination.
Veritas, an organisation that provides information on Parliament and the laws of Zimbabwe, says: “In the absence of objections, or if ZEC considers objections lodged to be invalid, ZEC must gazette notices declaring a nominee elected as a Senator with effect from the date of the notice.
“If an objection is considered to be valid, the process must be repeated until a qualified person is identified to fill the vacancy.”