Politics

Chipanga happy to be back in Zanu-PF, but will he dribble past Chinamasa?

FORMER Zanu-PF youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga says he is ready to play his part as an ordinary card-carrying member to ensure that the ruling party reaches its targeted 5 million voters in the 2023 elections.

“By being readmitted, I automatically assume the role of a foot soldier and join other cadres in the recruitment drive, starting from cell or village where I reside here in Rusape. Five million votes are achievable,” he told the State-owned Herald newspaper yesterday.

Chipanga was dismissed from Zanu-PF in November 2017 for associating with the G40 faction that sought to elevate former President Robert Mugabe’s wife – Grace – to the presidency of the party and the country. After having been cut loose from Zanu PF, he kept knocking at the doors of the ruling party and his applications were turned down at least two times by the Zanu-PF Politburo. He’s now back and thankful.

“I would like to thank His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa and the entire party leadership for finally accepting me back in the revolutionary party where I belong. I also thank Zanu PF Manicaland Province, my home province for the support they had given me. I appreciate,” said Chipanga.

However, there is one problem. Now above 35 years, Chipanga no longer fits the grade in the youth league and won’t be able to contest the youth league posts which are up for grabs later on this month.

Even if he was below 35, the Politburo conditions for his return stipulate that he cannot hold any position for the next three years. This means Chipanga’s best shot is to contest as a senior from 2024 going onwards. But that presents even bigger challenges for the former powerful youth leader who commandeered Ministers to dance to Jah Prayzah’s music at Mugabe’s rallies in 2017.

Chipanga’s biggest problem is that the Zanu-PF godfather in his district and province, Patrick Chinamasa, is openly unimpressed by Chipanga and won’t at all tolerate any slightest show of ambition by Chipanga. In October last year, Chinamasa lashed out at Chipanga saying he “did much damage to the party causing mayhem and disunity in the party”.

At the same time, Chinamasa also recommended that Chipanga be made to vacate, with immediate effect, a farm he had been occupying in Manicaland province and that the farm be occupied by the Manicaland State University. Chinamasa claimed Chipanga was given the farm by former exiled ministers Saviour Kasukwere and Jonathan Moyo as a reward for pushing the G40 agenda. He said the farm had in 2001 been set aside for future use as Manicaland State University land.

“He must vacate that farm forthwith to pave way for setting up of the University of Manicaland,” Chinamasa told a media post-Politburo meeting in October last year. “As you are aware he was expelled from the party in November 2017 for his activities and alignment with the G40 elements who did much damage to the party causing mayhem and disunity in the party.

“He applied to be readmitted first in 2018 and then again in January this year. After taking into account the pivotal role that Kudzai Chipanga played in driving the G40 agenda, carrying out the activities and the gravity of the offences that he committed, the Politburo has seen it fit to turn down his application to join the party.”

Chinamasa claimed Chipanga was given the farm by former exiled ministers Saviour Kasukwere and Jonathan Moyo as a reward for pushing the G40 agenda. He said the farm had in 2001 been set aside for future use as Manicaland State University land.

“He must vacate that farm forthwith to pave way for setting up of the University of Manicaland,” Chinamasa said.

What complicates matters for Chipanga is that Chinamasa is now the Zanu-PF acting political commissar, a post that basically acts as a sieve for who gets into power and who remains in the party cells. Going into the 2023 elections, Chinamasa would no waste the chance to ensure Chipanga is on a leash – a very short leash so that he does not cause “much damage to the party causing mayhem and disunity in the party”.

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