HUNDREDS of Zanu PF supporters in Mutare North constituency took to the streets on Sunday protesting against provincial chairperson Mike Madiro, whom they accused of imposing himself as party candidate in this year’s general elections.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
Party members accused Madiro of rigging the just-ended Zanu PF primary elections where he defeated sitting legislator Batsirai Pemhanayi.
The protests were reportedly ignited by Zanu PF central committee member Ellen Gwaradzimba and warned that the party could be hit by protest votes if the leadership failed to address the matter.
The protestors were waving placards inscribed; “We want primary elections in Mutare North,” “No imposition of MP’s”, “We never voted in Mutare North”.
Pemhenayi later arrived at the scene and was mobbed by party supporters as armed police failed to control the crowd.
The party’s district secretary for indigenisation, Never Bonde, claimed that Madiro denied them the right to vote for a candidate of their choice.
“People never voted in this constituency, we can’t even say that we voted in this election. How did we have police as presiding officers? This healing process is difficult to accept,” he said.
“People here in Manicaland should be allowed to vote since they never voted and this is bad for the party.’’
Another protester Farai Mukwe said: “As you can see, it was very unfair how Pemhenayi lost the elections, people did not vote at all and the demonstration today (Sunday) should be an eye opener to the party,’’ he said.
Madiro was not immediately available for comment.
Zanu PF Manicaland provincial political commissar Gift Kagweda said they were still gathering facts on what transpired.
“We are still gathering facts on what transpired and we are also working on getting a report from people who were deployed there. I cannot comment at the moment until I get a detailed report. We are going to meet with the party leaders in Harare,” he said.
Several Zanu PF provinces have been hit by similar protests, with party members threatening to back independent and opposition candidates in the upcoming general elections.