CHAOS marred Zanu PF primary elections in Bulawayo with ballot papers arriving late while other candidates accused their rivals of vote buying, intimidation and bussing in of supporters to influence voting outcomes.
BY SILAS NKALA
Aspiring parliamentary candidates in Makokoba, Bulawayo Central and Bulawayo East constituencies claimed the internal polls were marred by several irregularities, with some of their supporters’ names missing on the voters’ roll.
In Bulawayo Central, five candidates were battling it out for the sole party ticket to Parliament. These were Mark Ncube, Mlungisi Moyo, Ruggel Thomas Tafadzwa Nyatsvimbo and Patrick Zharare.
Nyatsvimbo told Southern Eye that there were a lot of irregularities in the voting process as his names were wrongly captured but when he complained with the election directorate in Bulawayo he was turned down. He also said some of the cell members were denied a chance to vote on allegations they were not registered in the cell registers.
“There are some candidates who corruptly registered people in cells at their offices and these are the cells which are being accepted here to vote, while those known members of the cells in the constituency who have been in the Zanu PF cells lists who are known to be my supporters are being denied top votes here. We want those old cells to be used here, we cannot say it is a free and fair election when people cheat in day light,” Nyatsvimbo said.
“Also my names were wrongly captured as Russel T Matsvimbo when I am Ruggel Thomas Tafadzwa Nyatsvimbo contesting for Bulawayo Central and when I raised it here they are refusing to correct that mistake and start threatening me.”
In Makokoba, the battle was between incumbent Tshinga Dube, Peter Baka Nyoni and Nothiwani Dlodlo and tempers flared at the Westgate polling station after some voters believed to be Nyoni and Dlodlo’s supporters were allegedly turned away over flimsy excuses.
Nyoni’s chief election agent William Mushangu claimed that party supporters from about six cells in the constituency were turned away on instructions from Dube whom he also accused of bussing in unregistered supporters to vote him in.
“People from six cells have been turned away because they are known supporters of Nyoni and Dlodlo and more than 500 to 600 people have failed to vote due to that malpractice,” he said.
Nyoni said he could not even vote for himself as his name was missing on the roll.
“I could not be able to vote for myself as a candidate because my name was said to be not in the cells they considered. They had to later clear that I should vote but I have refused to vote, what help will it do for me to vote alone when my supporters have been denied voting?” Nyoni queried.
“There is no way I could vote without my supporters. You see Zanu PF started long back the electronic registration process but here they have discarded that electronic system opting for manual registration which they are using to block our supporters. So if you do not have your name in the manual you cannot vote. The people who have been turned away are now more than those who have voted and this is not an election.”
Nyoni threatened to challenge the election results and demand a re-run.
Contacted for comment, Dube dismissed the accusations levelled against him, accusing his rivals of failing to effectively campaign ahead of the polls.
He, however, admitted bussing people to the polling station saying he did so just to facilitate the voting process.
“How would people get to the polling station? We transported even supporters of those who are complaining as they also transported their supporters with lorries,” Dube said.
“They are complaining that people from cells they think they are their supporters were turned away, yes they were turned away because these people made their own cells at night which were not known by the province. The cells which are recognised are those which were sent to Harare and got stamped by Harare. If you bring your own thing then you won’t make it because the province does not know those cells.”