After shock primaries, Zimbabwe elections will be 'nail-biting': Report

2018-05-04 12:17
President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Felix Dlangamandla)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Felix Dlangamandla)

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Elections due soon in Zimbabwe will be "nail-biting" now that a number of top allies of President Emmerson Mnangagwa have lost the right to contest parliamentary seats, the Daily News is reporting.

Cabinet ministers Chris Mushohwe, Abednico Ncube and Mike Bimha lost in primary polls held this week, as did several sitting Zanu-PF MPs.

Among those to lose in the primary polls was Mnangagwa's special adviser, Chris Mutsvangwa, who also chairs the influential war veterans' association. The Daily News said Mutsvanga was Mnangagwa's "most fearless backer".

Mnangagwa’s days numbered?

Support of the veterans of the 1970s independence war is seen as key to anyone wanting to hold onto leadership of Zanu-PF. 

The fall of party stalwarts in the primary polls is "a clear and sturdy message to Mnangagwa that his own days are numbered and he should be planning for his own succession, which his predecessor failed to do", political analyst Maxwell Saungweme told the paper.

Other commentators saw the developments in a positive light – a sign that the ruling party is undergoing a process of renewal.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News the fall of some officials may have been engineered by Emmerson Mnangagwa himself.

Desire for renewal

"It's more complex than meets the eye – the desire for renewal is also paramount," Masunungure said. "If (Mnangagwa) is eager to renew the party, he might have engineered the fall of some bigwigs," he said.

An editorial in the state-run Herald on Thursday said the shock results of the primaries was "a sign of a vibrant party renewing itself".

"It is a result that speaks of a resurgent party as evidenced by the young men and women who vied to represent Zanu-PF in Parliament," it added.

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