PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s political dynasty seems to be growing with each passing day, amid claims that his son-in-law, Simba Chikore, is eyeing a parliamentary seat in Makoni North constituency, Manicaland province.
Chikore is married to Mugabe’s only daughter, Bona, and was early this year appointed as Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer.
“There is a lot of activity especially in and around his home area of Chikore,” a source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
“Earthmoving equipment moved in two weeks ago and rehabilitated roads.
“Chikore has also sunk boreholes in the area, as he prepares for his campaign.”
Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Samuel Undenge, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but the party’s provincial administration, Kenneth Saruchera dismissed Chikore’s alleged political manoeuvres as mere gossip.
“It’s just a rumour that is doing the rounds with no substance,” Saruchera said.
But senior party leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to NewsDay that Chikore was preparing to contest the seat in next year’s election on a Zanu-PF ticket.
“He is getting ready and the issue started when he was invited to attend the Manicaland youth interface rally addressed by the President,” one source said.
“His parents also uncharacteristically attended and you saw the First Lady (Grace Mugabe) asking Chikore to chant the Zanu-PF slogan. He is in.”
Local parliamentarian, Francis Muchenje confirmed that Chikore had funded some projects in the constituency, but argued “these are complementary efforts”.
It is true that he has funded the construction of boreholes and rehabilitation of roads, but like any other high-profile person, I think he is helping,” he said.
“We have some very senior leaders from Tanda, for example, who have funded development projects in the constituency.
“We do not feel threatened and I am not losing sleep over it.
“I view this as a complementary effort to what I do as an MP. I am actually planning to come back for next year’s elections and finish my projects.”
Muchenje said people in his constituency were happy to have Chikore “where he is”.
“We are happy to have such an influential person because it works to our advantage,” he said.
“Chief Chikore is the custodian of the borehole equipment and we were consulted together with all traditional leaders on the project.
“I do not think there is anything sinister about it. We will see what happens when the time for him to join politics comes.”
Chikore’s political entry comes as Mugabe’s step-son, Russell Goreraza, is reportedly eyeing the Marondera West seat in Mashonaland East, while Bona has been appointed to the Censorship Board, something critics claim is part of the Zanu-PF leader’s plan to establish a dynasty.
Grace has already been touted as a possible successor to her 93-year-old husband and is also tipped to represent Zanu-PF in the Harare South constituency.
With Zanu-PF leaders embroiled in a bitter power scrap to succeed Mugabe, insiders said Chikore presented a fresh frontier.