ZANU PF has declared James Seremwe as the party candidate for the Mount Darwin West constituency by-election after he won the party primary elections held on Sunday which some party insiders dismissed as chaotic and heavily flawed.
Although Mashonaland Central acting provincial chairperson Dickson Mafios declined to confirm the winner insisting that the announcement would be made by national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, sources said Seremwe won the ticket to represent Zanu in the March 27 by-elections after he pipped four other candidates in the race including his relative Barnwell Seremwe and provincial youth chairman Godfrey Tsenengamu.
Other candidates were Kennedy Banda and Caleb Karima.
The seat fell vacant following the elevation of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru to the presidium before she was recently ousted on allegations of plotting President Robert Mugabe’s downfall.
Tsenengamu confirmed that Seremwe had been declared the winner.
“Seremwe was declared the winner after vote-counting, a decision I have accepted though I have reservations about the conduct of the polls,” Tsenengamu said without elaborating.
Other party insiders told NewsDay that the internal party polls were held in the absence of a credible voters’ roll and indelible ink to deter multiple voting.
“Initially, it was agreed that candidates had to be in the party structures, but the regulation was relaxed to accommodate Seremwe,” a Zanu PF insider who declined to be named said.
Sources said all party members were allowed to vote as long as they could produce their national identity cards.
“The regulations are clear that only people on the cell registers are allowed to vote in the primaries, but with low turnout mid-way through the process, it was later agreed that everyone could cast a ballot if they came with their national identity,” another source said.
There were also allegations of multiple voting at some voting centres.
“Some people were moved from one voting centre to another since there was no comprehensive voters’ roll or indelible ink to mark those who voted,” insiders said.
Expelled party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the principle of one-man-one-vote was correct as exhibited in the Mount Darwin primary election.
“We say that the principle is good to elect leadership than appoint. However, when the people speak through the ballot, their voice should be listened to by the leadership, not some scenarios where it is manipulated to suit certain agendas,” Gumbo said.
Senate President Edna Madzongwe and Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira, who superintended the polls, were not immediately available for comment.