Zanu PF set to win polls marred by irregularities

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Zanu PF claims it will make a clean sweep of the 16 by-elections being held today as it is facing little-known opposition parties and independent candidates.

XOLISANI NCUBE/CHARLES LAITON

The only serious challenge to Zanu PF, independent candidate Temba Mliswa, who is contesting in Hurungwe West, yesterday had his application for the postponement of the by-election struck off the register by Electoral Court judge Justice Tendai Uchena.

The matter was struck off on the basis that the cited parties in the application had not been given 10 days to respond.

Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday said the ruling party was ready to increase its dominance in Harare and have elected MPs in Bulawayo after enduring more than a decade of losing in the provinces to the opposition MDC-T.

“We are ready for the polls, our candidates are ready to roll and match to Parliament,” he said.

The polls comes as election watchdog Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) alleged that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was facing serious financial challenges which had forced the electoral management body to centralise accreditation of observers.

“The unintended consequence of this action may be the reduction of the number of citizens that will be able to observe the elections,” Zesn said.

Zesn claimed Zec had received only $4 million from the government instead of projected $32 million which it said was “grossly inadequate and might compromise the effectiveness of Zec preparedness for the by-elections”.

Besides the issue of funding, Zesn said Zec had reduced the number of polling stations in Harare by 18% without giving meaningful reasons.

Headlands independent candidate Albert Mukarakati complained of intimidation of voters who were allegedly being told to “vote for Zanu PF or face the army brutality”.

“There is too much intimidation here, people are being told that they must vote in groups and have their names written down by traditional leaders. This is a violation of their rights,” he said.

Mliswa alleged there were cases of violence and voter intimidation being perpetrated by Zanu PF.

“I am confident of victory even if Zanu PF tries to play dirty, I am ready to face that little-known Keith Guzah and reclaim my seat which is for the betterment of the people in Hurungwe,” Mliswa said.

“The big challenge which should be addressed is the issue of observers. In Hurungwe we need more observers to ensure Zanu PF and its shenanigans are constantly put in check”.

In his urgent chamber application Mliswa had cited Zec, its chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, Zanu PF, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Guzah, chiefs Nyamhunga, Dandawa, Nematombo, Dendera, headman Mutatu and President Robert Mugabe as respondents.

But when Justice Uchena presided over the matter on Monday, the respondents, through their lawyers, raised preliminary issues, which they wanted the court to deal with first before entertaining the main matter on merits.

They argued that the Electoral Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter, adding the case was prematurely set down since they had not been allowed the 10-day waiting period.

They also argued Chombo should not to have been cited in his personal capacity, but Mliswa, through his lawyers Tawanda Zhuwarara and Musindo Hungwe, dismissed the claims arguing the minister had been cited in his personal capacity as a politician and not as a minister.

However, Justice Uchena upheld the argument that the matter had been prematurely set down although he agreed with Mliswa’s lawyers that he had jurisdiction to handle the matter and also that Mliswa was correct in citing Chombo in his personal capacity.

In his application, Mliswa claims Chombo, in the presence of Guzah, and while acting as a Zanu PF official, addressed several campaign meetings in Hurungwe West where he issued threats against him adding there was video footage supporting this.

6 COMMENTS

  1. A win for DEAD PF is just a high sounding nothing because they do not have a legimate mandate for the people in any way. Electoral Reforms first b4 such frivolous elections.

  2. Highfield (and other) urban constituencies have around 15 000 or more voters – I’ll be surprised if more than 500 people vote there. We have rejected RGM himself resoundingly over the years why would we vote for those who worship him?

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