Chiyangwa hosted a lavish bash for his supporters two weeks ago, where he announced his candidature for the coveted leadership post in President Robert Mugabe’s fractious home province.
According to sources who attended the meeting here, Chiyangwa has now emerged as the front-runner in a field dominated by party provincial heavyweights and Mugabe’s relatives. Chiyangwa is also related to Mugabe.
The move to allow Chiyangwa to contest the chairmanship has come as a surprise. Earlier this year, Mugabe reportedly told party administrator Didymus Mutasa that Chiyangwa should not be allowed to join the race because he was still considered a “security threat” because of the espionage case.
Other contenders for the lucrative post are Reuben Marumahoko, the current acting provincial chairman, Governor Faber Chidarikire, Ngezi MP Bright Matonga and businessman Temba Mliswa.
Chiyangwa could not be contacted for comment at the time of going to press.
He was deposed as provincial chairman in 2004 after hooking up with a party faction led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, which was calling on Mugabe to step down. He was then arrested on charges that he had spied on Mugabe and Zanu (PF) and passed damaging information about the crumbling party to the South African secret service.
The property tycoon was detained for five months and brutally tortured by the CIO. The charges were later dropped but his associates, party security chief Itai Marchi, diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo and banker Tendai Matambanadzo were jailed for up to six years.
Chiyangwa was suspended from Zanu (PF) for five years but was re-admitted in March as an “ordinary card-carrying member” with a condition that he could not hold a top post for two years.Post published in: News