will Zanu PF calm the wave of defiance?

…as CCC ‘copies’ from the ruling party’s handbook!

By Clayton Shereni

ALLEGATIONS of rigging, vote buying and candidate imposition have been raised in internal candidate selection processes for both the ruling Zanu PF and main opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Masvingo province as election spell hots up.

CCC over the weekend converged at  various venues in Masvingo including at the Showgrounds for ward 9, where party members voted for aspiring candidates in the final phase of its ‘Citizen Consensus’  in a process that attracted controversy and allegations of busing and massive vote buying.

Copying from the Zanu PF’s infamous handbook, some of the candidates reportedly bused supporters from areas that are outside boundaries of wards they wish to represent.

Centre News witnessed a commuter omnibus allegedly owned by one of aspiring candidates in Ward 9 busing people from Victoria Ranch and as far as Summerton to vote for him and they were paid US$2 each.

Contacted for comment, Benard Muchokwa who allegedly owns the vehicle vehemently denied the allegations saying:

“I never bused anyone, of course, some candidates bused and videos are there but I am not one of them. I have worked in that Ward for a long period registering people.”

However, a lot of anomalies have been registered in CCCs candidate selection process with some candidates being disqualified in recent weeks for unclear reasons.

Chief among the disqualified aspiring candidates in CCC Masvingo was Mayor Collen Maboke, whose reasons for disqualification remain a mystery despite other top officials in the party alleging that he was being punished for defying the party leader, Nelson Chamisa, in 2018 when he was voted Mayor of Masvingo defeating then party’s preferred mayoral candidate Godfrey Kurauone in a dramatic election.

Maboke who had a misunderstanding with the MDC Alliance leader, Chamisa, in 2018 over the Mayoral post has remained mum on his next move despite calls from within the rank and file of CCC Masvingo for him to contest as an independent.

Some disgruntled CCC provincial leaders are now reportedly vying for 2018 parliamentary independent candidate for Masvingo Urban, Sam Chapfudza ahead of party’s ‘preferred’ candidate Advocate Martin Mureri.

Chapfudza has since joined CCC and disgruntled party followers have rallied behind him, threatening a ‘Bhora Musango’ if Chapfudza is dropped without due diligence just like what happened with Maboke.

CCC interim provincial spokesperson, Advocate Derick Charamba played down the issue of candidates busing supporters and vote buying saying he is not aware of such developments.

“I am not privy to such information. I was not involved in anything so I know nothing,” Charamba said.

Meanwhile, after holding a chaotic primary election that was marred with allegations of rigging and vote buying, the ruling party Zanu PF might lose some of its strongholds to the opposition after some of its candidates in the primary election have threatened to go solo.

In the 2018 harmonized elections, Zanu PF won 25 out of 26 constituencies in Masvingo province serve for Masvingo Urban constituency which was won by Jacob Nyokanhete of MDC Alliance.

In the drive to this year’s watershed elections, Zanu PF leadership in Masvingo province has vowed to make a clean sweep collecting all constituencies that are up for grabs.

However, due to the effects of a chaotic primary election it may prove to be detrimental to this dream!

After winning the primary election for Gutu East, George Vhengere was unceremoniously disqualified and replaced by Benjamin Ganyiwa whom he defeated during the primary elections.

Supporters of the ruling party are reportedly breathing fire, protesting and defending their vote for Vhengere.

Speaking at the rally convened by YoungWomen4ED at Mucheke Stadium on June 9, 2023, provincial chairperson, Robson Mavhenyengwa said they are facing challenges in burying the hatchet in some constituencies.

“We have a small problem of a few party members that don’t understand party ideology and that when you go into primary election you can lose. We have Mwenezi West where one of the members who didn’t win the primary election has decided to stand as an independent. He thinks he has power but we are going to show him that he is powerless, people belong to Zanu PF,” said Mavhenyengwa.

Still addressing the same rally, Mavhenyengwa claimed that Vhengere lost to Ganyiwa despite Vhengere being declared the winner and later disqualified.

“In Gutu East one of the candidates (Vhengere) who lost keeps on denying defeat despite knowing that if the party declares another candidate (Ganyiwa) winner that is what we follow,” added Mavhenyengwa.

It is alleged that outgoing legislator for the constituency Berita Chikwama is said to have anointed Ganyiwa her successor ahead of Vhengere resulting in the dramatic turn of events leading to Vhengere’s disqualification and a series of protests in the constituency.

Ganyiwa refused to speak to Centre News citing protocol issues.

“I don’t know you so I can’t comment on anything. We follow protocol in what we do,” said Ganyiwa.

Contacted for comment, Vhengere chose to be diplomatic saying: “The people were allowed to choose a candidate of their choice and they did that. Whatever they are doing it means they want the person they voted for.”

The provincial leadership is also having a serious headache because of a candidate who has openly declared his intentions to run as an independent candidate in Mwenezi West.

Tafadzwa Masvayamwando Shumba, who was defeated by incumbent Priscilla Zindari Moyo wife to Zimbabwe’s dreaded spy agency Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) boss Isaac Moyo, has vowed to go solo after denying defeat and citing rigging as the main cause of his loss.

It has also emerged that another Zanu PF member, Mutonho Mutonho who was disqualified to contest in Gutu West primary election has since declared that he will contest during the upcoming plebiscite as an independent candidate.

With elections looming and jostling to win the hearts of the electorate having started after the proclamation of the election date by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, analysts have reiterated the need to work extra hard if Zanu PF is going to achieve their target of a clean sweep in the upcoming general elections.

In 2008, then Zanu PF leader, Robert Mugabe lost the presidential election after a ‘Bhora Musango’ due to serious factional wars and protest votes after allegations of rigging during primary elections.

It, however, remains a mammoth task for both parties in their quest to get as many constituencies and wards as possible on 23 August 2023.

Zanu PF seeks to register a clean sweep of all constituencies whilst CCC eyes to fish-in the ruling party’s strongholds.

With elections looming, the big question remains, who will make a difference and benefit from a looming ‘Bhora Musango’?