By A Correspondent- Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo Province have expressed worry over the party’s failure to properly conduct the recent primary elections to select candidates for the March 26 by-elections.
The internal elections exposed deep-rooted factionalism in the province amid growing concerns the G40 faction might be taking control of the ruling party’s provincial structures.
Party insiders who spoke to The Zimbabwe Independent fear that the national leadership’s failure to address complaints raised soon after the primary elections might trigger a “bhora musango” scenario.
Bhora Musango was a clandestine campaign by some Zanu PF leaders in the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections against voting for the party’s presidential candidate leader Robert Mugabe while voting for the party’s parliamentary and local council candidates. Said an unnamed official:
The primary elections were rigged and this will work against the President. For some wards, ballots were mixed so that people could not see their candidates.
Ballots never balanced with figures of up to 100 in some instances. That means people were smuggled even when they were not on the voting list.
Vote-buying was allowed with no questions asked. Complaints on the irregularities were not entertained while the provincial chair acknowledged there was something wrong with primaries.
The chairman must know that he is chairing a pure 70% G40 executive.
Zanu PF Bulawayo chairperson Jabulani Sibanda, who landed the post in December after years in the political wilderness, dismissed reports of factionalism and claims that complaints were swept under the carpet. He said:
That is nonsense, there is no factionalism here. I am aware of what you are asking.
All the complaints brought to the office were forwarded to Harare and that is where you can get your answers from. I don’t have answers to your questions.
However, the Zanu PF insider claimed Sibanda Sibanda was bypassed when candidates’ curriculum vitae were sent to the party’s head office. He said:
Sibanda is now just a shadow of his former self. It is known from way back that Sibanda and Mnangagwa are close, even during the late former president Robert Mugabe’s tenure.
We expected a change from him but many people are disappointed.
Hopefully, he will find a solution; on the issue of candidates, he was left out only to know when curriculum vitae had reached Harare. They bypassed him.
Reports suggest that Zanu PF members within provincial structures are divided between those allegedly backing Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and others belonging to a group aligned to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.