Harare Post Correspondent
CCC Chikomba Ward 11 candidate, Edwin Maseva collapsed at the Anglican Church polling station in Chivhu after he unexpectedly lost the local government election by a narrow margin.
A teacher by profession, Maseva won the Ward in 2018 before he was removed after he failed to resign from the public service triggering a hotly contested by-election for the ward. The CCC activist failed to come to terms with the election results after he was out-polled by ZANU PF candidate Pedzisayi Muhenyeri who garnered 211 votes against Maseva’s 194.
Maseva crumbled to his knees upon announcement of the results and had to be assisted by his election agent and close political ally, Emmanuel Punungwe as he sobbed uncontrollably. Maseva, without any proof, later claimed that the voters’ roll was manipulated by ZEC to disenfranchise his supporters and rob him of victory.
Two council seats were up for grab in Chivhu urban under Chikomba RDC during the 26 March by-elections. The other seat was for Ward 10 where Punungwe, also a teacher, was together with Maseva dismissed as councillor after he failed to resign from Public Service. CCC fielded fringe opposition activist Arnold Reza as its Ward 10 candidate in the by-election. Reza was also trounced by Tafadzwa Mukandi of ZANU PF resulting in the ruling party wrestling the two seats from CCC, which had 4 councillors under the Chivhu Town Board Committee.
Maseva and Reza were imposed by party secretary general Charlton Hwende and organising secretary, Amos Chibaya respectively under the so-called “consensus” candidate selection criteria. The district executive led by Patrick Gwini together with Provincial Chairman Anthony Mutodza were opposed to the candidature of Maseva and Reza, but were swept aside by the new tide of the CCC. Gwini’s executive viewed both Maseva and Reza as party renegades. Maseva was on suspension before he was smuggled back by Hwende and Chibaya as CCC by-election candidate upon formation of the party, while Reza was a political “freelancer”.
Gwini and his leadership then secretly sabotaged Maseva and Reza during the campaigns resulting in their humiliating defeat in the by-elections. While the CCC was in disarray in Chivhu, ZANU PF took advantage and romped to victory riding on the success of the devolution agenda that has gained traction and transformed the local government landscape.
A close confidant of Maseva revealed to this publication that the former councillor found the pill bitter to swallow as he had corruptly borrowed US$5000 reportedly from the Professional Educators Union of Zimbabwe where he is the Secretary-General and US$2000 from a housing cooperative based in Masvingo for his campaigns. Maseva is also said to be bitter over CCC’s failure to support its candidates with financial resources.
Meanwhile, political commentator Tafi Makamure argued that the defeat of Maseva and Reza signals the end of the duo’s political careers and reincarnation of CCC factional fighting. Makamure also predicted a ZANU PF victory in all the 4 wards in Chivhu in the 2023 Harmonized General Elections saying that the Party has reinvigorated its structures in Chivhu urban and will be difficult to defeat.