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Masvingo wrangle: not just a squabble but a fight for the survival of the Karanga

The deliberate programme to prop Mawema has failed. He lacked the charisma of Zvobgo. Mawema now seems to have been ditched in favour of Mudenge who is viewed as an intellectual giant like Zvobgo but he lacks political experience and a sound political base. Although he claims to have been a member of the ruling ZANU-PF since its launch in the 1960s, people in Masvingo just do not know him.

The argument therefore that Zvobgo is against Mudenge and Hungwe because they have “frustrated (his) uncontrolled political ambition to become president” does not hold water. It is seen in Masvingo as a flimsy excuse orchestrated by the media to sidestep the real issue.

While the conflict seems to be centred around Zvobgo, it is really a case of so-called sell-outs of the Karangas against those who believe they should now get their fair share in national politics.

Analysts argue that there is a strong feeling that Karangas have been short-changed for too long and this has largely been because of sell-outs from within who should now be weeded out.

They argue that the Karangas are incensed because they are not just demographically a majority, but they also constitute a majority in key sectors like the ruling ZANU-PF membership, the army, police and prison service.

They even constituted a majority among the freedom fighters and in the Rhodesian army, but they are losing their grip of these key sectors.

Unity within the Karangas threatens Zezuru hegemony and supremacy and this is a cause of concern for the present leadership but the Karangas who feel they have had enough of being trampled upon are reportedly planning to unseat those whom they believe are being used to weaken their power base.

Whispers say Air Force chief Josiah Tungamirai, for example, is likely to contest the seat currently held by Shuvai Mahofa.

Tungamirai, who was the logical candidate to take over as overall commander of the merged army and air force, was forced to retire with Tapfumanei Mujuru.

Although Vitalis Zvinavashe, a Karange took over command of the army, this is believed to have just been a stop-gap measure while he law was being amended to allow for single command of the army after which Zvinavashe would be asked to retire to pave way for a favoured candidate.

Mahofa has been at the centre of a political controversy in Gutu and she has only survived because of her connections at the top. But she does not stand a chance against Tungamirai, a war hero, who can tear her credibility to shreds. Sources also say she has no hold on the former Air Force chief.

Another ex-soldier, Charles Dauramanzi, will go for Joseph Mandava’s seat. Mandava and Mahofa are considered to be Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s people and in turn Mugabe’s people.

Hungwe, as a governor appointed by President Mugabe, has no constituency and is just being written off as that, Mugabe’s man. The same applies to Speaker Nolan Makombe who was also rescued by Mugabe after losing to Dzikamai Mavhaire at the last elections.

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