CHAOTIC scenes characterised the Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections at the weekend amid allegations of vote-rigging, burning of ballot papers and violence in most parts of the country.
BY STAFF REPORTERS
The ruling party held its DCC elections in eight provinces in the country except for Harare and Bulawayo.
Zanu PF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri was scheduled to address the Press yesterday evening over the elections, but she was in no-show after journalists waited for several hours.
Acting party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, who was locked in a meeting late last night, could not immediately comment.
However, chaotic scenes dogged the DCC elections in most parts of the country with contestants almost trading blows.
In Mutare, there were riots after some party members burnt ballot papers following allegations of rigging and vote-buying.
A vehicle that was supposed to deliver ballot papers in Mutare broke down in Marondera on Saturday, which delayed the process.
Four candidates, Binali Yard, Clever Muparutsa, war veteran Ivan Mbengo and the outspoken Cecilia Gambe were competing for the Mutare chairperson’s post.
Names of some candidates were missing from the ballot papers.
Some Zanu PF supporters, who commented on condition of anonymity, said the elections were not free and fair due to massive rigging with some party members voting without identity
“There is a massive shortage of ballot papers, just imagine there is a ward with 349 registered voters and the ward only received 47 ballot
papers. We decided that the ballot papers must be burnt,”the party member said.
“In ward four, people are voting at least five or six times with some agents reportedly keeping ballot papers in their pockets and receiving bribes from some candidates to help them rig the elections,” he said.
At one time, Gambe threatened to pull out of the race, citing incidences of multiple voting.
In ward four in Sakubva, there were reports of people voting without identity cards, while some presiding officers were accused of taking bribes.
Voting started late at some polling centres such as Mutare Junior, Beit Hall in Sakubva, and Mutanda Primary School as ballot papers were delivered late.
A rowdy group in Sakubva ended up burning ballot papers due to disgruntlement over the manner in which the election process was being handled.
However, Zanu PF Manicaland secretary for administration, Kenneth Saruchera rubbished the rigging allegations.
“The problem is that some candidates are just cry-babies,” Saruchera said.
In Marondera, some voters abandoned the polls because the names of their candidates of choice were missing from the ballot paper.
In Hurungwe, new ballot papers had to be brought in after the initial lot were rejected because the names of some candidates were missing.
A new set of ballot papers was collected from Harare overnight.
There was also drama at Chikangwe in Karoi when an aspiring candidate for the chairmanship post Franko Ndambakuwa almost assaulted Shepherd Marime, a youth member from a rival camp.
Ndambakuwa, a war veteran, had to be restrained by other party members.
In Mashonaland Central, the voting process progressed into the night amid concerns that this would impact on the smooth running of the elections.
A contestant in Chiredzi, Tarusenga Makamba, a former ward three councillor, had his name missing on the ballot paper, yet it appeared on the voters roll.
Some voters were given plates of sadza and drinks in ward four in a suspected case of vote-buying.
In Matabeleland North, voting started late and heavy rains disrupted the process.