TOP Zanu PF officials fell by the wayside, while losers to so-called heavyweights were crying foul yesterday as the party concluded its shambolic primary elections just a day before the nomination court sits.
There have been widespread reports of electoral fraud in the primaries and threats of revolt against the party from vanquished candidates who have threatened to besiege the nomination court tomorrow to register as independent candidates as the bhora musango (vote the opponent) policy widens in Zanu PF.
There is simmering tension and mounting anger against the party, with the Daily News inundated with calls from across the country from disgruntled party officials alleging ballot stuffing, intra-party violence and blatant vote-buying.
Although a confident Simon Khaya Moyo, Zanu PF’s national chairperson who is also in charge of elections, had on Tuesday indicated that election results would be made public by end of day yesterday, the widespread disarray made it impossible to tabulate the results for the former ruling party.
A process that was supposed to end on Tuesday spilled into Wednesday as logistical challenges bogged the poll.
So chaotic were the primary elections that the former ruling party has been left further weakened ahead of critical elections after influential members allegedly rigged the elections in broad daylight, much to the chagrin of the challengers who vowed to go it alone by standing as independent candidates.
With the courts yet to rule on an application to extend poll dates, President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral directive for the nomination court to receive candidates has left those with objections with nowhere to run, amid indications that the rushed primary elections have pushed the party to the edge of a precipice on the eve of make-or-break elections.
The primary elections, a critical dress rehearsal for the former ruling party ahead of crunch elections, where Mugabe’s party will yet again lock horns with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, have been described by many inside and outside the former ruling party as a sham.
Using bond paper as ballot paper, buckets and cardboard boxes as ballot boxes, the primary elections were open to manipulation as it emerged that some of the boxes were stuffed while some candidates allegedly bused in voters from different parts of the country to push up their numbers.
Anyone with a national ID was allowed to vote.
In Chivi, Paul Mangwana, who led the constitution-making process on behalf of Zanu PF, lost while in Manicaland Joseph Made was defeated.
While for some like Made, the journey towards what promises to be a cutthroat general election has been cut short, others like Patrick Chinamasa, who narrowly beat his rival Basil Badza will have to sweat it out with opponents from the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who in 2008 mercilessly routed opponents.
In Chegutu East, Webster Shamu floored his long time rival John Mafa while in Mhondoro Mubaira Sylvester Nguni, a State minister in VP Mujuru’s office, survived the onslaught from two challengers.
Around the country, Zanu PF card-carrying members, endured long hours queuing to cast their votes in a process that was presided by the party’s provincial executives, and state security personnel, including uniformed police officers who could be seen assisting voters.
Intra-party violence reared its ugly head in the ex-majority party, again with violence dogging the disorganised primary elections as angry and impatient Zanu PF supporters defied the party’s rules and regulations in volatile suburbs such as Mbare, Epworth and Harare South.
However, there were other areas like Mabvuku and the Matabeleland provinces where voting was largely well-organised.