BY TATENDA CHITAGU
THE ruling Zanu PF party has retained the Zaka East constituency in a by-election held on Saturday, which was marred by allegations of vote-buying.
Clemence Chiduwa thrashed Derrick Charamba of the MDC Alliance after polling 7 119 votes against 1 518.
Clemence Chavarika of NCA got 85 votes, while Lazarus Mubango (Free Zim) got 63 votes.
Eighty-five votes were spoilt.
Voter turnout was 55,7% in the constituency, where 15 000 people are registered to vote, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).
The constituency fell vacant following the death of the ruling party’s Caston Gumbwanda in June.
Charamba alleged before and during the elections that the playing field was tilted in Zanu PF’s favour.
“They used traditional chiefs to intimidate people. There was also massive vote-buying as the villagers were given foodstuffs. On polling day, some of my supporters were being re-directed to far flung polling stations and some could not make it in time to vote before the closing of the polling stations,” Charamba said.
Chiduwa could not respond to the allegations as he did not pick calls.
Zanu PF unleashed its elections arsenal with several party cars hitting the campaign trail, while the MDC Alliance did door-to-door campaigns mainly.
The election was largely peaceful, save for an isolated incident witnessed by Southern Eye, where a Zanu PF supporter assaulted a polling agent at Rudhanda shops, accusing him of taking pictures with his cellphone.