Mugabe's Favourite Loses Elections

Amos Midzi (above), a former Mines Minister, is now the new Harare Province Chairperson for ZANU PF, after beating Mugabe's favourite for the post, Hubert Nyanhongo. This was the third or fourth election held in Harare as Mugabe attempted to get Nyanhongo elected, repeatedly nullifying the votes that returned Midzi. Now the game is up. At least Nyanhongo has the consolation of being a Deputy Minister in the Inclusive Government.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 11 November 2009

Hubert Nyanhongo, Robert Mugabe's favourite for the post of ZANU PF Provincial Chairperson in Harare Metropolitan Province, has lost internal elections in the party to Amos Midzi.

Midzi is now the ZANU PF Harare Provincial Chairperson.

Nyanhongo is the only ZANU PF MP in Harare, with all the other seats held by the main faction of the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai. Midzi got 1052 votes while Nyanhongo got 807 votes. Nyanhongo had appealed to the ZANU PF Politburo to nullify the vote, saying Midzi had been paying people US$20 to vote for him. But that body appears tired of mediating in the dispute and will now let the election results stand.

The Nyanhongo/Midzi fight has been going on for more than a year now and there is stroing suspicion that this was the fight that led to the untimely death of Elliot Manyika, the ZANU PF Political Commissar in a car accident.

Midzi had won the elections conducted under the supervision of Manyika and Nyanhongo appealed to the Politburo, which took the unusual step of nullifying the vote, even after Manyika, as Political Commissar, had endorsed that election. Two days after the Politburo went against its own Political Commissar, he died when a tyre on his car burst while he was on his way to Bulawayo.

Nyanhongo is widely acknowledged as Mugabe's favourite in the capital. As ZANU PF's only MP in the opposition hotbed, Mugabe sees him as a man with the required skills to take on the MDC-T on its own "home ground." He was dead set against Midzi, who he has publicly said has failed to make inroads against the MDC in the capital.

But, even knowing this, ZANU PF supporters in Harare (can't be that many of them), still rejected him in favour of the incumbent, Midzi.

ZANU PF structures in Harare are now basically dead, since the party is so outnumbered that it is less than a minority party. Most people, even those who do not support the MDC-T, do not even the ruling party a second glance.

So why the fight over the Chairmanship of such a dead province? Well, only because ZANU PF still has all its powers of intimidation and coercion intact. As leader of the party in Harare, the Provincial Chairperson is able to use his position for personal interests, taking advantage of business opportunities and things like that. Being based in the capital, which is the seat of government also makes the Harare chairman the most powerful and influential of all the Provincial Chairpersons in ZANU PF.

The win by Midzi shows yet again that Mugabe does not hold as much sway as most people thought before. He has tried standing up for his man, but his own party members will not listen to him.

Previously, if Mugabe declared against a candidate, that candidate stood no chance. But now the dictator's star is waning, unlike in the MDC-Tsvangirai, where the leader is, to this day, simply able to remove popularly elected officials and replace them with his handpicked choices without even bothering to go through the process of a sham election.

But the destruction of ZANU PF in Harare is now set accelerate after the losing Mugabe favourite declared quite openly on state television that he will continue to run a "parallel Harare Province structure" until he is confirmed as Chairman.


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