BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA/JAIROS SAUNYAMA
THE ruling Zanu PF party has banned its members from celebrating presumed victories in its internal polls for provincial executive members in a move seen as an attempt to quash factional fights between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s supporters.
On Friday, Zanu PF political commissar Mike Bimha announced the winners of the provincial executive polls held last week in the 10 provinces of the country.
Yesterday, he backtracked, saying the results would only become valid if the politburo endorses them.
“The national political commissar hereby issues this categorical directive as earlier indicated during our Press conference held on December 31, 2021 releasing provisional results that there are no winners or losers as yet following the holding of successful provincial elections across the nation,” Bimha said in a statement yesterday.
“As such all members of the party and contestants in the just ended elections must stop all activities aimed at celebrating victory or expression of disgruntlements.
He denied that he declared the winners of the Zanu PF provincial executive elections, stating that it was outside the scope of his responsibility as the political commissar.
“The 358th ordinary session of the Politburo which was set as the national elections directorate of the party dissolved all the outgoing ten provincial executives and nothing has changed so far except that we had successful provincial elections to choose new executives,” Bimha said.
“As an established rule and tradition of the party, until the politburo convenes to deliberate on the outcomes as announced at the aforementioned press conference, the results given remain provisional and preliminary and will be subjected to the wisdom of politburo deliberations and processing of legitimate complaints raised by others.
“All cadres of the party are hereby reminded to abide by this directive until further notice. No deviation from this directive will be tolerated.”
In some provinces, the polls were marred by reports of rampant rigging and vote-buying, which resulted in some defeated members disputing the results.
Outgoing Masvingo provincial chair, Ezra Chadzamira, who is believed to be Mnangagwa’s ally, lost the post to Robson Mavhenyengwa.
He is now reportedly disputing the results, claiming that the polls were rigged.
In Mashonaland Central, another Mnangagwa ally, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, retained the chairmanship post, but faces allegations of vote-buying and rigging, while voting at some centres in the province started well after 3pm.
In Manicaland, Albert Nyakuedzwa, who is believed to be a Chiwenga acolyte, lost the top provincial post to Mike Madiro, who is reportedly aligned to Mnangagwa.
Nyakuedzwa is now reportedly challenging the results of polls.
Bimha yesterday barred disgruntled members from challenging the outcome of the preliminary results until the Politburo meets to deliberate on the results.
Efforts to get a comment from Chadzamira were in vain, while Nyakuedzwa was also not reachable for comment.
Meanwhile, a number of party bigwigs in Mashonaland East province have been reduced to ordinary card-carrying members after they suffered heavy defeats.
Seke legislator Munyaradzi Kashambe failed to make it into the provincial executive after he was trounced by proportional representation MP and youth member, Tatenda Mavetera.
In Wedza, former acting provincial chairperson Michael Madanha lost out to National Housing and Social Amenities minister, Daniel Garwe, who is seen as a Mnangagwa favourite.
His path to victory was cleared following the disqualification of top contender Ozias Bvute a day before the polls.
Former provincial youth league boss Kelvin Mutsvairo and the former political commissar Herbert Shumbamhini were among the big losers.
In the youth league, Mutoko miner Isaac Tasikani won ahead of Moses Ndoro and Batsirai Matiza, while Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengwi beat incumbent Lyn Gororo.
“The elections are over and it is now time to work for the party. We are already working to achieve the five million votes in the forthcoming elections through mobilising people to join the party,” Munzverengwi told NewsDay.