PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday reportedly ordered that provincial elections be abandoned in his home province after chaos, confusion and allegations of candidate imposition marred the Zanu PF provincial executive elections.
BY PATRICE MAKOVA
In Midlands province, elections did not take place as scheduled yesterday, after ballot papers failed to arrive due to logistical challenges.
The elections where incumbent chairperson, Jaison Kokerai Machaya is being challenged by his deputy, Lawrence David Mavima are now set for today.
In Mashonaland West, Mugabe’s name was sucked into the confusion that took place after elections, there were postponed to another date with no satisfactory explanation being given to candidates and voters.
Dejected voters and some of the candidates contesting the various positions could be seen milling around at various centres in the province where elections were supposed to take place.
A senior Zanu PF official said Mugabe phoned national secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa instructing him to stop elections in his home province from going ahead.
The official said the Provincial Coordinating Council (PCC) had met in Chinhoyi on Friday and agreed to go ahead with the elections after everything necessary had been put in place.
But, the official alleged that local government minister, Ignatious Chombo pushed for the postponement of the elections and instructed outgoing provincial chairman, John Mafa to effect that.
“When he failed to convince the PCC to postpone the elections, we understand that he went to meet with President Mugabe. The President was told that the province is not yet ready to hold elections, which is not true,” he said.
But the official alleged that the real reason for the postponement was that Chombo felt his brother Nimrod Chiminya, one of the six candidates vying for the chairmanship, was not yet ready for elections as he was still to cover enough ground. Chombo was not answering his phone yesterday.
The leading contenders’ in the battle for Mashonaland west are businessman Temba Mliswa and Sanyati legislator and war veteran, Blessing Geza Runesu. Businessman Phillip Chiyangwa has also expressed confidence in winning, while incumbent John Mafa and Colonel Beta Guveya are also in the race.
Mafa yesterday initially said he was waiting for voting to start in Chegutu, where he also wanted to cast his ballot.
But he later said the PCC decision had been overridden by “vakuru” (party seniors).
“I am waiting to hear what vakuru will say. These are Chombo and Webster Shamu [national commissar],” said Mafa.
Mutasa confirmed that indeed elections in Mashonaland West had been postponed as some of the party leaders felt they were not yet ready for elections.
It is only in Manicaland where elections were successfully held yesterday. Results were expected later in the evening. Voting at most centres in the province started well after midday, due to late arrival of election materials.
But Zanu PF officials there said voting later on went on peacefully and smoothly with no other major glitches being reported.
Provincial acting chairperson, Ambassador John Mvundura was expected to shrug off a challenge from Senator Monica Mutsvangwa. Joyline Chipo Porusingazi, Clara Mukahanana and Grace Mvududu were contesting the post of provincial women’s league boss.
Serious divisions have emerged ahead of the provincial elections as the different factions in Zanu PF fought for positions. One faction is said to be loyal to vice-President Joice Mujuru and another one to Justice minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa. The third faction claims to be only loyal to Mugabe. The faction to prevail in the current restructuring exercise is likely to have an edge during next year’s Zanu PF congress, where a successor to 89-year-old Mugabe is likely to emerge.