ZANU PF was yesterday expected to wind up voting of the district coordinating committees (DCC) in the three districts in Manicaland where the process was postponed due to logistical, manpower and natural occurrence challenges.
The elections, which were expected to start on Saturday and end on Sunday, spilled into yesterday with voting ending at 4pm in Makoni, Nyanga and Mutare Urban.
The DCC elections in Manicaland were marred by an assortment of challenges, chief among them, delays in the deployment of voting material, shortage of manpower and transport as well as heavy rains that destroyed bridges and made most roads in the rural areas untrafficable.
However, the voting was completed on schedule in Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutasa and Zimmunya/Marange, where the process went on without incident.
Leader of the Politburo team that monitoring the process’ compliance with rules and regulations of the party’s internal election, Lieutenant General (Retired) Dr Cde Engelbert Rugeje, told The Herald that yesterday’s mop-up exercise was progressing well.
“When we started, we had challenges related to the availability of ballot papers in sufficient quantities as well as shortage of manpower.
The polling officers deployed in Manicaland could not match the number of polling stations on the ground. Transport and fuel were also a challenge as the heavy rains that pounded Nyanga, Makoni, Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Mutare districts,” said Dr Cde Rugeje.
Manicaland had 260 polling stations across Zanu PF’s eight political districts, which were sanitised and observed physical distancing in the voting queues.
“It was in the rural areas where the impact was most felt because the roads were not trafficable, for example in Buhera South, we had bridges that were washed away by the rains and it took the team two days (Friday and Saturday) to reach some of the polling stations.
The rains delayed the process and also prevented voters from exercising their right to vote,” said Dr Cde Rigeje.
“We had situations where some names were missing from the nominal roll while some whose names appeared, not physically on the ground either due to relocation or death.
The process was completed on time in Buhera, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutasa and Zimunya/Marange, but voting was expected to end yesterday at 4pm in Makoni, Nyanga and Mutare Urban. We had no incidents of violence, except the fact that the prolonged period fermented some altercations among the presiding officers and candidates. That is understandable because wherever there is electoral competition, the competitors have that inherent antagonism. However, there was no violence or destruction of voting material in the province,” said Dr Cde Rugeje.
In Makoni, voting continued at eight centres in Makoni Central constituency, including the 10 wards in Rusape. The delays were being attributed to the district’s big size which contributed the logistical nightmares.
Polling officers seconded from Buhera failed to match the 55 polling stations in the district.
Results from the other polling stations were trickling in showing a tight contest for the chairman’s post between Makoni South MP Cde Misheck Mataranyika and Cde Albert Nyakuedzwa.
In some wards in Mutare urban, delays were attributed to rains and late arrival of ballot papers at some centres.
By 4pm all wards in Dangamvura and Chikanga had voted and presiding officers were tallying the figures.
Several wards in Sakubva such as wards 1A and B, 3, 5A and B, 2B, 14A and B, 16A, B and C, 4B and C also voted yesterday.
There were few disturbances in Chikanga where allegations abound that some people, who are not registered in the districts, cast ballots through hook and crook.