THE chaos that has been the hallmark of Zanu PF district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections continued yesterday in different parts of the country with re-runs and failure to produce results, while in some areas ballots were found thrown in bins amid suspicions of massive vote rigging.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI/BLESSED MHLANGA/MOSES MATENGA/ GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Zanu PF party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri yesterday said the party will order re-runs in some areas due to the chaos.
Due to the volatile nature of the DCC elections, polling stations had to be guarded by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, which the party however said they were not going to pay them.
“The police were there to maintain peace and order, and this is not a service that is open only to Zanu PF but to every organization across the board when they have their activities and need police presence,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
However, police normally charge per hour when they provide security details for private functions.
In Muzarabani North, results of the elections started trickling in yesterday, and Muzarabani North MP who is also the Energy Minister Soda Zhemu landed the chairmanship post.
Deputy Finance minister and Zaka East MP Clemence Chiduwa was voted chairperson for the Zaka district with 3 582 votes to his opponent, whose name was only given as Chitara, managed 300 votes.
Another MP Davison Svuure (Zaka Central) landed the vice chairmanship post after polling 1 988 votes, while his close contender Paradzai Chakona garnered 1 291 votes.
However, in Mutare the DCC elections were so chaotic that some original ballot papers were found thrown in bins, which raised fears of rigging.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the ballot papers that were thrown into bins were found at First Class Academy School in Sakubva ward 3. A police report was then made. Four candidates namely, Binali Yard, Clever Muparutsa, Ivan Mbengo and Cecilia Gambe are eyeing the Mutare DCC chairmanship.
One of the candidates who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said: “There is now a deliberate plot to delay the process and to frustrate my supporters so that they do not cast their votes. Just imagine we found used original ballot papers at First Class Academy in ward 3 thrown in various bins, this is rigging.”
The elections have now spilled into the third day in Mutare and yet some centres in Chikanga have not yet received ballot papers.
The Zanu PF provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera said he was not able to comment about the chaos to media.
However, a re-run of the DCC elections was ordered in 14 of the 26 wards in the province.
In Mangwe district, Matabeleland South, some wards did not vote amid allegations that the presiding officers did not turn up, especially in Empandeni ward.
In response to the chaotic scenes at the DCC elections, Muchinguri-Kashiri during a media briefing warned all rogue elements within the party, saying that there will be a clampdown on anyone who attempts to cheat their way into power.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said there will be investigations into all allegations of violence and cheating during the DCC elections.
“Any malcontents who have orchestrated such indiscipline and brought the party into disrepute will be held accountable,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said, adding that full investigations will be carried out in Mutare.
“We are fully aware that there are areas where some individuals have chosen to act contrary to the rule and guidelines that were given. In such cases, thorough investigations will be conducted and should there be clear and irrefutable evidence of some manipulation of systems or rules, it must be made clear that the National Command Centre may recommend re-runs in order to make sure the wishes of the party members are respected,” she said.
The ruling party admitted that its elections were affected by logistical challenges which saw ballot papers not arriving on time, and that other polling stations had no polling officers.
“Whilst we recognise the positive results on the ground we acknowledge challenges with regards to delays in the distribution of ballot papers and boxes, inequitable distribution of ballot papers and shortage of presiding officers,” she said.
Political analysts said the chaos at the Zanu PF DCC elections has exposed deep rooted factionalism in the ruling party ahead of the 2023 elections as bigwigs were at each other’s throats.
Rashweat Mukundu said: “There is no doubt that the party has remained in trouble and the ugly head of factionalism has not only reared, but it has done so in a more forceful manner.
That clearly shows that leadership contestations in Zanu PF are not over regardless of the rhetoric. The leaders of Zanu PF are at variance with the direction of the party and that has inevitably put the whole country in peril as these are the people we expect to make decisions on the future of the country.”
Mukundu said what was more problematic was that the Zanu PF leaders have now shelved their governing mandate of addressing challenges affecting the country to focus on internal squabbles.
Alexander Rusero said: “There have always been contradictions of Zanu PF internal democratic process since its formation, and sadly because of its status as the ruling party these contradictions always manifest at national elections level. These contradictions emanate from the current tussle on who should be the legitimate brokers and stakeholders of the party: the army or the civilians.”
Another analyst Eldred Masunungure said: “Those accusations or allegations are not new, they are part of the Zanu PF way of doing things internally and externally and that is rigging and bribery of prospective voters and these are age-old features of Zanu PF that are not likely to go away.”