WASHINGTON DC —
Confusion characterised Zanu PF primary elections Tuesday as the former ruling party left it until the last minute to choose candidates for this year’s general elections.
Reports from across the country indicated the primaries started late and failed to take place in some constituencies due to what officials termed “logistical problems”. This included the unavailability of ballot papers and the absence of presiding officers.
In many areas, including Uzumba, Maramba-Pfungwe, Mutoko, Goromonzi and Marondera in Mashonaland East, the process was chaotic, according to people on the ground as voting started late due to the late delivery of ballot papers.
In Chegutu, Kadoma and Zvimba North in Mashonaland West, voting started well after 12 pm. In Mbire, Bindura South and North in Mashonaland Central, the process failed to take off following the late delivery of ballot papers.
But in Epworth and some centres in Harare and Beitbridge East, reports said the process went on smoothly.
The party used police officers as presiding officers. Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said he will only comment Wednesday when he will have some information about election figures and results.
The party’s chairman Simon Khaya Moyo announced late Tuesday that voting will continue Wednesday until noon in constituencies that failed to finish the process, adding that results should be submitted to the party’s National Elections Directorate in the afternoon.
Director Pedzisayi Ruhanya of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute said the Zanu PF primaries were chaotic because top officials, who normally supervise such polls, are themselves participating in the elections.
"This is precisely because those who are supposed to administer the elections in Zanu-PF, for instance the commissariat secretary Mr. Webster Shamu is running for his dear life in Chegutu East where he is being contested by a Mr. Mafa," Ruhanya said.
Secretary general Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe said they were unhappy that some Zanu PF primaries are being held at schools.
"Schools must be left as politics-free zones. Why don't these politicians go to hospitals and ask patients to be discharged one day so that they conduct their business?" Majongwe asked.