STAFF WRITERS 30 April 2018
HARARE – Zanu PF’s hotly-contested primary elections took place
countrywide yesterday amid violent and chaotic scenes, as well as damaging
allegations of bribery, favouritism and the imposition of candidates –
prompting the ruling party to postpone the internal polls in many
constituencies to today.
The embarrassing anarchy did not only expose a potential lack of
organisational capacity by Zanu PF’s new leaders, it also raised serious
questions about the so-called new dispensation’s preparedness to
successfully manage the national elections that are due in a few weeks’
Violence erupted in Harare where police threatened to shoot some thugs at
one of the polling stations, where a minister is said to have briefly run
away with a ballot box.
An ugly ruckus was also reported at Karoi Primary School in Hurungwe West,
where one of the candidates – Chinjai Kambuzuma – is alleged to have gone
into labour after an altercation with another aspiring candidate, Mary
Chikoka Mliswa. It later emerged that Kambuzuma had given birth to a
healthy baby boy at Karoi District Hospital.
All this occurred as tens of thousands of Zanu PF supporters failed to
vote on time in many constituencies, resulting in the party extending
voting to today in the areas that were affected by the late arrival of
Zanu PF national political commissar Engelbert Rugeje blamed the chaos on
problems with printers, while party candidates who spoke to the Daily News
bemoaned the fact that their principals had failed the people.
Harare East constituency witnessed ugly scenes at around 5pm at Courtney
Selous Primary School when current MP and deputy Finance minister Terrence
Mukupe briefly snatched a ballot box.
This was after his supporters had complained that the name of one of the
senatorial candidates, Stalin Mau Mau, was missing from the ballot paper.
Earlier, the hot-headed Mukupe had in full view of journalists and police
assaulted his rival’s driver before driving away – causing pandemonium.
Mukupe’s rival Mavis Gumbo, was forced to flee the scene in fear, at
which point many people started leaving the polling station.
Later efforts by the Daily News to speak to Mukupe drew a blank.
In Mabvuku’s Ward 19, people were voting from a commuter omnibus, while
another group of people that was voting at a creche was allowed to do so
behind a huge steel gate with heavy shutters.
In Harare South, Kuwadzana East, Epworth and Hatfield, the situation was
not much different, amid chaos and delays in the delivery of ballot
War veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, also a candidate in the Harare
South primary elections, said they had not received their allocation of
ballot papers by 5pm – while also expressing fears of rigging.
In Mufakose, voting had to be stopped after supporters of rival candidates
clashed. Similarly, voting could not be completed in Mashonaland West due
to delays in the delivery of voting material.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West deputy provincial chairperson Keith Guzah slammed
Rugeje’s department for the shambolic management of the primaries.
“The commissariat department could have done a better job than this. Many
people will not be voting and this is very sad,” Guzah said.
In Kadoma, prospective senator Jimayi Muduvuri claimed that his name had
been mysteriously transferred to Mhondoro.
“I live in Kadoma but somehow my name is no longer on the list. I tried
to call the chairperson (Ziyambi Ziyambi) and he is not picking up his
phone,” he said.
In Mashonaland Central, police made several arrests in Mazowe West where
alleged supporters of the sitting MP, Kazembe Kazembe, were said to have
slashed the vehicle tyres of rival Tafadzwa Musarara.
“The tyres were deflated and my driver was attacked, and I know it is the
work of incumbent MP Kazembe Kazembe’s campaigning team who were spotted
at the scene. Arrests have been made under RRB 333861440,” Musarara told
the Daily News.
But Kazembe refuted the allegations, saying he had nothing to do with the
alleged criminal acts.
In Mashonaland East, voters were also made to wait the entire day, amid
the logistical problems.
In Marondera Central, voters in Dombotombo told the Daily News that they
had arrived at the polling station at six o’clock in the morning, but to
In the volatile Masvingo Province, there was also confusion as most
candidates complained that their names were missing from ballot papers.
In the Zaka East Constituency, candidates Chiremba Mamutse, Alois Muchewa
and Clemence Chiduwa were among those whose names were missing from the
In the Midlands, in Mberengwa North, elections were postponed to today
while there was chaos in Zvishavane after an attempt to allow people
without voter slips to cast their ballots.
In Bulawayo, the primary elections were marred by vote rigging claims, as
well as the late delivery of voting material.
At Westgate, in the Makokoba constituency, Peter Nyoni – who is said to be
the husband of minister Sithembiso Nyoni, traded accusations of bussing
voters and bribery with ex-war Veterans minister and incumbent MP, Tshinga
Dube told the Daily News that busses that ferried voters were not meant
for him alone, but all the candidates, since some were coming from far off
In Bulawayo Central, many people were turned away after their names were
not found on registers, amid claims of rigging.
The looming national elections have generated such interest among both
ordinary Zimbabweans and ambitious politicians alike that a number of
opposition leaders are set to contest President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the
The polls themselves will be the first in the past two decades not to
feature ousted former president Robert Mugabe and the popular late
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Meanwhile, analysts told the Daily News last night that the disastrous
Zanu PF primaries were a warning to the opposition that the national
elections could be affected by shambolic planning.