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Electoral Fraud, Intimidation of Opponents Rocks Zanu PF Primary Elections

Zanu PF primary elections ...
Zanu PF primary elections ...

The ruling Zanu PF party has ordered some constituencies and wards to re-run primary elections following allegations of widespread cheating, busing of voters, election buying and intimidation of rival members.

Some disgruntled party members claim that candidates’ names were also missing on ballot papers while several elections were conducted in total darkness, resulting in suspected voter fraud.

People waiting to cast their votes in the Zanu PF primary elections.
People waiting to cast their votes in the Zanu PF primary elections.

In some parts of Mashonaland West province, Zanu PF political commissar Sydney Nyanungo, said members differed on modalities of conducting the primaries resulting in the abandonment of the polls.

Some disgruntled party members camped at the Zanu PF headquarters until they were assured that polls will be conducted according to set rules and regulations.

“I don’t call it a re-run because they did not hold the elections. There is a stalemate because of the methods that were used to distribute the ballot papers. The ballot papers were exposed which means that someone could have duplicated because they can simply photocopy and end up in excess with what we delivered to the constituencies. So, that is the problem. We are rectifying that.”

Some members, like Cosmas Chaitezvi, who was Tommy Mwanza’s election agent in Ward 3, said he was shocked to find that Mwanza’s name was missing on the ballot paper.

“It’s strange that one of the people who was not expected to contest the primary election Reiny Cherny appeared on the ballot box and people were then asked to write-in Mwanza’s name at the back of the ballot paper,” said Chaitezvi.

Some of the people waiting for ballot boxes at one of the polling stations.
Some of the people waiting for ballot boxes at one of the polling stations.

Other disgruntled contestants include Marian Chombo and Christopher Mutsvangwa, who is President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s adviser. Mutsvangwa asked for a postponement of the primary election in his area, citing suspected voter fraud as ballot boxes were delivered late in the evening.

In Harare, indications are that some winners in the primaries include Goodwill Masimirembwa (Mabvuku-Tafara), Betty Kaseke (Kuwadzana East), Danny Derera (Mufakose), Godfrey Gomwe (Budirio), Gilbert Mponda (Warren Park) Terrence Mukupe (Harare East) and Obadiah Moyo (Harare East).

In Gwanda North, reports say elections were abandoned after some members threatened to beat up polling officials as names of contestants were missing from the ballot papers.

“We are not happy with this and what I can tell you is that we wanted to deal with the polling officials who left out the names of people we thought were going to win the primaries. This is election fraud and we hope they won’t do it again.”

In a related development, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa is expected to hold primary elections within the next few days. The party is expected to field candidates under the MDC Alliance.