Violence marred the Zanu PF primary elections which ended last night in Masvingo province amid allegations of vote rigging by the Lacoste team which wanted to make sure that all candidates with the ousted G40 cabal links would not win.
The party has two factions ,one which was led by former first lady Grace Mugabe and backed by his husband, firmer president Robert Mugabe . The faction is called G40 while the one which wrestled power from the nonagenarian Mugabe in November last year after being led by Gen Constantino Chiwenga is Lacoste. This since Mugabe era has been aligned to the new President Mnangagwa.
In Chivi Central`s Ward 30 police had to be called in to quell the volatile situation as supporters were pelting each other with stones over a new cell register that had been brought in the middle of voting. The violence was so ugly that some motorists had to drive away in high speed as the protestants threatened to stone all the cars at the polling station . One voter was arrested and briefly detained at Chivi police station over the issue and police had to stop the voting exercise forthwith as they feared the situation could go out of hand.
“We are afraid our details can be in danger here ,as we do not have enough reinforcements . We are forced to close the voting now due to escalating violence which has also been reported in Ward 14,” said a police inspector who asked not to be named due to professional reasons.
In Chivi North the sitting MP Mathias Tongofa was assaulted by another aspiring candiadate and firmer MP, Tranos Huruva after his name did not appear in the cell registers that the polling officers had. Tongofa was slapped in the face and made a formal police report against Huruva who immediately deserted the polling station after committing the crime and police have since launched a manhunt for the man.
Sitting Chivi Central MP Ephraim Gwanongodza who was battling out with Paul Mangwana, Albert Chamwadoro,Priscilla Pondo and an ex army officer ,Manasa Mahapa expressed concern over the violence reported in his constituency and others in Chivi saying it out the party in bad name.
“I think the violence could have been avoided through conducting elections in a fair and transparent manner . This violence puts our party in bad light . We shoukd ensure that elections are run peacefully. We all Zanu PF that there is no need to fight each other but I blame the provincial leadership for creating this chaos,” said Gwanongodza.
A political commentator who is also Progressive Teachers Union in Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou described Zanu PF as playing kindergarten politics and not being organised. He said it was doubtful if the party was not going to use the same violence to intimidate political protagonists in the forthcoming harmonised elections slated for sometime in July .
“Zanu PF are a joke and these prinary elections have exposed the party`s insatiable appetite to rig elections . How could they doctor cell registers . I hope MDC alliance and other opposition parties are watching how bad an election can be run . They should learn from such blunders so that they avoid to be treated the same . Zanu PF is giving opposition victory on a silver platter ,if what is happening in their rank and file is anything to go by,” said Zhou who is also an academic.
Another Chivi gowth point resident Almon Mabhandi said Zanu PF was “Heading for a crushing defeat at the hands of MDC-T Alliance led by the vibrant and energetic Advocate Nelson Chamisa.”