via Chaos mars ZanuPF polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 28, 2013
DEEP-SEATED factional fighting yesterday raised its ugly head as the ruling Zanu PF party failed to conduct provincial elections in some districts countrywide due to disagreements, it has been learnt.
By 6pm, the provincial elections had not started in some areas in the Midlands province as chaos continued to plague the polls due to factionalism, which has threatened to divide President Robert Mugabe’s party.
The provincial elections were supposed to be held in all the country’s 10 provinces on Saturday, but the party suspended polls in Mugabe’s home are in Mashonaland West as the province was
reportedly not yet ready, while in the Midlands province, there were no ballot papers for the voting.
Following Saturday’s problems, elections in the Midlands province were moved to yesterday, but got off to a slow start with some polling officers only deployed to various districts where they were supposed to conduct the polls around 6pm.
Zanu PF central committee member Douglas Tapfumanei confirmed the development.
“The process is very slow and we doubt it will be completed today (yesterday) in Mberengwa,” he said.
“We have just finished deploying those conducting the elections.”
In Kwekwe, districts in Mbizo had not yet started casting ballots by 5pm although counting of ballots at the party’s Kwekwe Central office was underway.
Provincial Minister of State and Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman Jason Machaya is facing an acid test from his vice-chairman Larry Mavhima, a close ally of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa for the chairmanship.
Party sources yesterday said the provincial elections were a de facto contest between a faction loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa, the party secretary for legal affairs, who were reportedly positioning themselves to succeed Mugabe.
“If Machaya wins, it will be a message of approval for Mujuru in the succession race, while Mavhima’s leadership will be a clear approval for Mnangagwa,” the source said.
Zanu PF national political commissar Webster Shamu told the State-controlled media at the weekend that the postponement of elections in Mashonaland West was meant to give the party an opportunity to investigate allegations of vote-buying and imposition of candidates.
A senior Zanu PF official told our sister paper The Standard that Mugabe had phoned party secretary of administration Didymus Mutasa instructing him to halt the elections.
In Manicaland, reports indicated that current chairperson John Mvundura was on course to retain his seat as he was leading against Zanu PF senator Monica Mutsvangwa.
Reports were still trickling in from various parts of the country including Bulawayo, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces, while polls in Matabeleland North and South were reportedly postponed.