BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Behind it followed two more vehicles, one of it fully packed with visibly tired party youths. It was evident that they were running around in the constituency campaigning for their preferred candidate.
The candidate Munyaradzi “Maworesa” Kashambe was not in the Jeep. He arrived in another vehicle in the company of a popular member of the Mubaiwa family.
People who were enjoying themselves at the popular leisure centre were shocked to see the two together given that Kashambe’s rival, Helga Mubaiwa, was campaigning at the other end.
Seke Constituency later brewed a shocker as Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s mother-in-law fell by the wayside.
Her votes could not match Kashambe’s, who was declared the winner by the Zanu PF election directorate team.
The news spread like a wild fire across the constituency and the 40-year-old car dealer was over the moon celebrating his victory. His supporters were happy and congratulated the soft-spoken politician for a job well done — defeating the Vice President’s mother-in-law.
Some hours later, the joy turned into sorrow. There were attempts to overturn the results to accommodate Mubaiwa, with some officials within the party reportedly suggesting that it was a taboo for the Vice President’s mother-in-law to lose an election.
Various allegations were raised and technicalities were thrown around.
“That was the most tormenting period of my entire campaign but I tell you what? I got solace from the President during the launch of the party Manifesto, he was very clear on internal democracy especially on candidates selection that candidates should come from the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God ,” Kashambe said in an interview.
He was finally announced the winner on Wednesday night, close to two weeks after the election took place.
Kashambe was the last winner to be announced in the province despite a clear victory.
Before that, a recount was ordered while attempts to smuggle in results were reported. The matter divided the party officials but it was resolved that in honour of democracy within the party, Kashambe (40) be declared the winner.
Today, the politician who is also a provincial youth league executive is a relieved man and dedicated his victory to sheer perseverance.
“It (victory) is a cocktail of many factors, mainly perseverance and also being part of a supportive family.
Last but not least it’s also about humility. I am excited especially given the level of complexity that surrounded the campaign and election itself,” he said.
Asked on what he would have done if Mubaiwa was announced the winner, Kashambe said that it is now water under the bridge.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on that because we now have the verdict in favour of the people so ngatifambe nezviripo (let us respect what is on the ground). It is now water under the bridge. We are now focusing on the big cake — the general elections,” he said.
It is alleged that some members of the Mubaiwa family were in support of Kashambe. The winner said the Mubaiwa family are his close relatives as well as business partners.
“The Mubaiwa family are close relatives and we have been doing business together ever since.
“Remember they are in the motor industry which is also my main line of business. We also need to understand that an election is not a war but only a contest where only one candidate will emerge as winner,” he said.
After being pressed further on why some of the Mubaiwa family members were campaigning for him, Kashambe said:
“For unity of purpose I will not comment on that but only to say they were supporting the party principles not me per say.”
The politician’s road to Parliament has been marred by hurdles but through determination he overcame the first big challenge.
The general elections are coming and with the constituency being a peri-urban area, Kashambe is bracing for a tough contest with the opposition parties mainly the MDC Alliance.
In 2013, he was blocked by Ray Kaukonde to pave way for Phinias Chihota. Like a saint he took heed to the call of the elders.
“I did not backtrack in 2013 but I failed to meet the criteria then. I was in the party for less than the required five years in the district.
“Of course at that moment Ray Kaukonde was the provincial chairman and he only conveyed the message but didn’t block me. It is the party criteria that blocked not only me but a number of cadres,” he said.
On Thursday morning, the Zanu PF members in Seke woke up with their phones laden with messages from Kashambe thanking them for their votes — two weeks later.
“Comrades, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people of Seke and all on this group for the support u gave me — both moral and in the primary elections.
“It is now my plea that we let bygones be bygones and unite as team Seke behind our one candidate, in this case Munyaradzi Kashambe.
“It was just an internal contest not a war. It’s time we unite all the camps to become one strong formidable force and face the real enemy which is the opposition party,”
read the message.
The journey to Parliament is not for the faint-hearted, and Kashambe is set for another tough fight and this time during the harmonised elections.