Kuda Bwititi Herald Reporter
Cde Kudzai Chipanga is the new Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs in the Politburo after beating Cde Tongai Kasukuwere in a hotly contested election conducted in the wee hours of yesterday morning at the party’s 6th Annual Youth League Conference.
Results of the election were announced by Zanu-PF National Chairman Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo.
Conference proceedings were delayed after delegates failed to agree on candidates for the top two positions.
The National Commissariat headed by Cde Webster Shamu arranged the vote and the voting went beyond 11pm on Saturday and counting started after midnight.
The outcome was only made known just before 4am yesterday.
They had to organise for thousands of delegates comprising district chairpersons, provincial as well as national executive members to vote through a secret ballot.
Cde Chipanga, who is also the legislator for Makoni West, polled 1 381 votes against Cde Kasukuwere’s 926 votes.
In the other election for the post of Secretary for Administration, Cde Varaidzo Mupunga of Harare Province beat Cde Lewis Matutu of Midlands after garnering 1 414 votes against her opponent’s 891.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo commended the contestants for showing “great maturity”.
“All those who participated in the elections showed that they are exemplary leaders,” he said.
“In Zanu-PF there is no winner or loser. There are only those who get to the finishing line first. Others will get there later. I am sure that spirit should prevail across the breadth and length of our country because we are one family.”
Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Absolom Sikhosana said the elections were held in a free and peaceful environment.
“Everything went according to plan,” he said. “Everyone participated in the elections and they were free and there are no complaints as the ballots were counted in front of the contestants and their agents.”
In an interview with The Herald yesterday, Cde Chipanga said he was pleased with the result, which showed that democracy exists in Zanu-PF.
“The elections were free and fair. It shows that there is democracy in the party. Leaders in the party are not imposed, but chosen by the people. Those who say there is no democracy in Zanu- PF have been shamed,” he said.
Cde Chipanga pledged to work tirelessly to promote unity in the party
“The elections are now over so, it is now time for us to work for the party. At the end of the day, there is no loser and there is no winner, it is Zanu-PF that has won. We now need to exert our energies to fight for the party and defend the party, (and) above all promote unity in the party.
“We have a mammoth task ahead to safeguard the gains that we have made in winning last year’s election. So, our drive now is to look towards 2018.
“As the youth, we constitute more than 70 percent of the electorate, so we should look forward to engineering another victory for the party when 2018 comes,” he said. While accepting the result, Cde Kasukuwere said he had some complaints on how the poll was conducted.
“I have accepted the results, but I have three complaints in particular about how the election was conducted.
“Firstly, we had an issue with Manicaland Province where people who are over 35 years of age were allowed to vote.
“Secondly, I believe there was too much influence in the election process by some members of the Politburo and the Central Committee. It seems there were members from the main wing who came to the conference particularly to rein in the youths to vote in a particular way.
“Thirdly, there was general conduct to frustrate the conference. The President talked about vote buying in his speech and we still had people who did not take heed of that message.
“At the end of the day, however, I accept my new post and I will remain focused as a cadre of the party to the tasks that lie ahead,” he said.
Despite losing the polls, Cde Kasukuwere and Cde Matutu automatically take up the posts of Secretary for Legal Affairs and Secretary for Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, respectively in the Youth League executive committee.
Full list of the executive members:
Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs: Kudzanai Chipanga (Manicaland)
Administration: Varaidzo Mupunga (Harare); Deputy: Myra Ngozo (Bulawayo)
Finance: Yeukai Simbanegavi (Masvingo); Deputy: Vaida Garakasha (Mash East)
Commissariat: John Mushayi (Mash East); Deputy: Cecilia Chivhunga (Harare)
External Relations: Mpehlabayo Malinga (Bulawayo); Deputy: Kudakwashe Gopo (Masvingo)
Security: Tungamirai Mutonhodza (Mash West); Deputy: Lovemore Chibvura (Manicaland)
Transport and Social Welfare: Aleck Nyakuwara (Mat North); Deputy: Erasmus Jaya (Midlands)
Information and Publicity: Evelyn Mpofu (Mat South); Deputy: Paullettee Chokumanyara (Mash Central)
Legal Affairs: Tongai Kasukuwere (Mash Central); Deputy: Leslie Ncube (Mat South)
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment: Lewis Matutu (Midlands); Deputy: Wellington Tagarira (Mat North)
Production and Labour: Anastacia Ndlovu (Midlands); Deputy: Margaret Madyamatamba (Mash West)
Health and Child Welfare: Ratidzai Marovahopo (Mash Central); Deputy: Sekai Mandunda (Mash East)
Economic Affairs: Nkosilomusa Moses Langa (Mat South); Deputy: Fulufeno Mleya (Mat South)
Education: Elizabeth Masuku (Mat North); Deputy: Sithandazile Moyo (Mat North)
Gender and Culture: Loishas Takarusikirwa (Mash West); Deputy: Joseph Dendere (Mash Central)
Welfare of the Disabled and Disadvantaged Persons: Butholezwe Ngwenya (Bulawayo); Deputy: Innocent Hamandishe (Harare)
Land Reform and Resettlement: Xavier Kazizi (Mash East); Deputy: Memory Chitsata (Mash West)
Science and Technology: Martin Zinyoro (Masvingo); Deputy: Admire Mahachi (Manicaland)
Business Development and Liaison: Prince Shinya (Harare); Deputy: Cleopas Magwizi (Masvingo)
Environment and Tourism: Betty K. Dhliwayo (Manicaland); Deputy: Thokozani Mpofu (Midlands)
The previous executive, which was led by Cde Edson Chakanyuka, was dissolved at the conference.