via Zanu-PF provinces welcome election postponement | The Herald November 20, 2013
Zanu-PF chairpersons for the seven provinces that were scheduled to conduct provincial elections on Saturday have hailed the party’s decision to indefinitely postpone the polls.
Elections held in Manicaland, the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces were marred by serious irregularities and produced contested outcomes.
Harare, Masvingo, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo were scheduled to hold elections on Saturday but they have since been postponed to an unknown date in the wake of the chaos that characterised elections in Manicaland, the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces.
An unprecedented special Politburo meeting has since been slated for Saturday where Zanu-PF is expected to put a stop to the chaos that rocked the provincial contests.
In separate interviews yesterday, the provincial chairpersons said the postponement would help them prepare for the polls to avoid the irregularities that affected the provinces that were first off the block.
“Postponement of the elections is good for the party because a lot of bad things had started happening,” said Mashonaland West chairperson Cde John Mafa.
“This will create an opportunity for us to address the things that had not been done properly for instance, as Mashonaland West we are hosting the 14th Annual National People’s Conference and having elections before the conference defies logic.
“We want our provincial committee to work around the clock to ensure the successful hosting of the conference. But every election divides people so there will be tensions because people will be supporting different candidates.
“If the elections had gone ahead, it would have affected the smooth preparations of the conference. We can go to the elections after the conference. Why are we rushing?” Cde Mafa said.
Bulawayo chairperson Cde Callistus Ndlovu said postponement would work to the benefit of the party.
“It gives us an opportunity to rationalise the structures that are going to vote. It will enable us to complete the preparatory work. I think now that the other provinces have been given more time than those three, they will be better prepared to avoid irregularities. It will definitely work to the advantage of the party,” Cde Ndlovu said.
Matabeleland North chairperson Cde Richard Moyo said they were waiting for the Politburo to make a determination on when polls would be conducted.
“We cannot say we are happy or not until the Politburo gives a way forward when it meets on Saturday,” he said.
His Matabeleland South counterpart, Cde Andrew Langa said they stood guided by the leadership of the party.
“As Matabeleland South, we stand guided by the party. The most powerful organs in the party are the Politburo, the Central Committee and the Presidium. We have no problems in Matabeleland South. We stand ready for elections should the party call for them,” he said.
Efforts to get comments from Mashonaland East, Harare and Masvingo provincial chairpersons were fruitless.
Elections in Manicaland, the Midlands and Mashonaland Central provinces were beset by irregularities by way of party registers, deployment of voting material, composition of supervisory teams, and communication of results, all of which begged to be straightened out before the remaining seven provinces could vote.
Voting, which was supposed to be conducted in one day, was at times stretched to three days, and even then several administrative and party districts failed to vote.
President Mugabe has since announced that the Politburo was still to receive the Mashonaland Central results and the accompanying report from the presiding officers, a development which means there is no official result on Mashonaland Central.
In the Midlands province about 15 party districts in Shurugwi North failed to vote amid reports in some areas people voted at night but Cde Jason Machaya was declared the winner over Cde Larry Mavhima.
The Midlands result has, however, since been challenged on the grounds that several districts did not vote and a final decision is still pending.
The situation was the same in Mashonaland Central province where Cde Luke Mushore was declared winner over Cde Dickson Mafiosi with six districts still to vote.
In light of the contested outcomes in Manicaland and Midlands provinces, the Zanu-PF leadership has been debating whether to set aside both results and start afresh, or accept the results of the two provinces and insist that elections in the remaining seven provinces be done in line with the party’s electoral rules and guidelines that stipulate that elections be conducted and concluded within one day.