Tension is swirling within Zanu-PF circles ahead of today’s potentially explosive politburo meeting amid reports of continued chaos over the just-ended provincial polls, name-dropping of President Emmerson Mnangagwa by some candidates and alleged security sector involvement in the recent party polls.
Impeccable sources within the party yesterday told NewsDay that fireworks were expected at today’s politburo meeting, which is set to discuss the just-ended party elections, and other issues that include a push for the party to hold an elective congress this year.
The provincial polls were so chaotic that national political commissar Mike Bimha’s office was reportedly inundated with complaints of massive irregularities like rigging, name-dropping of Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga’s names, and intimidation.
Bimha has since indicated that the election results would only be released after being approved by the politburo, the party’s second highest decision-making body after the central committee.
In a letter dated December 30, 2021, addressed to Bimha, aspiring provincial chairperson for Matabeleland North province Believe Gaule Ncube claimed that the provincial polls were marred by intimidation and rigging.
“Following the just-ended provincial elections to elect Zanu-PF provincial leadership, in the case of Matabeleland North province, there has been a series of gross irregularities, omissions of justice and commissions of injustices by certain individuals campaigning for the opponent candidate, namely Richard Moyo, who is also Minister for Provincial Affairs. The uncalled for behaviour is deployed to ensure that by all means necessary, there will be an unjust victory for the candidate in the name of Richard Moyo for scrutiny of the election process and nullity of an unfair outcome,” Ncube wrote.
“…There was gross intimidation of the electorate that supported and preferred me Believe Gaule. Two days before the election in question, the opposing candidate Richard Moyo’s campaign team made claims that the party does not allow anyone to oppose and compete with a minister in an election.
“They went on to claim that Richard Moyo is the President’s choice, and he has been endorsed by the President. To many, voting otherwise could be seen as opposing the word of the President and first secretary of the party HE E.D Mnangagwa. There is a recorded audio in support of this and witnesses (those who were addressed on that particular day) abusing the President’s name for private gain cannot and must not be tolerated.”
He added: “There was deliberate distortion of voter credentials, where some voters who were expected to vote for me had their names and surnames correctly captured in the register, but their national identity numbers had been deliberately wrongly captured, rendering them ineligible to vote.
“It is absurd for one to accept that the whole province had a total of 10 000 votes cast. It is worth noting that money was a game changer as Richard Moyo’s campaign team paid the election facilitators to aid in the rigging process.”
Ncube said the appointment of election facilitators was compromised, with the district co-ordinating committees reportedly appointing those in Moyo’s camp to run the elections without following procedures prescribed by the commissariat.
He alleged that figures were tampered with.
“In Nkayi, on the day of the election, police officers manning the Nkayi South polling stations allegedly told the voters to vote for the minister (Moyo) saying going against the minister was going against the President,” he said.
“In Lupane and Hwange districts, all of the opponent’s campaign efforts were allegedly centred on denouncing other competitors, thus to say anyone who supported me Believe Gaule, was termed an opposition supporter (MDC). This partly contributed to the voter apathy because it was said by someone in the rank of a minister.”
Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro also raised similar allegations, accusing former national commissar Engelbert Rugeje of presiding over biased polls.
“I am submitting a grave complaint, particularly focused on Rtd General Rugeje in the discharge of his fiduciary role as party provincial returning officer. His conduct exhibited unrestrained personal and political bias against my candidature while showing unbridled preference for the other contestants,” Madiro wrote to the party’s top leadership.
“He used Makoni district as a bastion to rig the elections through creating phantom or ghost voters to offset my lead in an attempt to nullify or thwart my outright victory. He also blindsided prospective voters deemed to be my supporters. I am submitting this appeal against the possible announcement of a tainted result which does not reflect the will of the majority party membership for Manicaland province.”
In Mashonaland Central province, businessman Tafadzwa Musarara controversially lost to Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe amid allegations of vote rigging.
Sources from other provinces told NewsDay that the provincial elections had further divided the party along factional lines.