HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is falling apart just before the impending make-or-break elections, as candidates who felt cheated during the party’s shambolic primary elections vow to stymie the ex-majority party’s victory.
After watching their poll bid being stolen right in their eyes last week by so-called heavyweights, disgruntled Zanu PF officials across the country including in so-called Zanu PF strongholds of Mashonaland are now mobilising for a protest vote similar to the bhora musango of 2008.
The revolutionary party’s elections hurriedly held last week were characterised by vote rigging, violence and intimidation.
In Maramba Pfungwe Constituency, Godfrey Chikono and former legislator Kenneth Mutiwekuziva have ganged up against Washington Musvaire whom they accuse of rigging.
The two, who came second and third respectively to Musvaire, told the Daily News that Zanu PF national commissar Webster Shamu had promised to visit the constituency on Monday to build bridges but did not turn up.
Angered by Shamu’s no show, the duo’s supporters have threatened either to boycott the elections or to vote against the party, a situation echoing the 2008 bhora musango scenario where party supporters voted against Mugabe while voting for the legislative and municipal candidates.
“The people of this constituency were robbed of victory in broad day light and the fact that they are talking about bhora musango shows that all is not well,” said Chikono.
Pressed to say what that meant for the party given the magnitude of the elections, Chikono said: “That cannot be my fault because the party seems to be content with that as they have not honoured their promise to come and solve the impasse.
“We have been waiting for Shamu to come here like he promised and over 5 000 people are still gathered at Chitsungo awaiting his arrival since yesterday (Monday) but it looks like they have snubbed us,” Chikono said, adding the party would learn a lesson not to impose candidates.
When the Daily News crew arrived at Chitsungo, the activists had briefly returned to their homes to prepare supper except for a few who were milling around.
“If they are not going to do a re-run of the election, then the party is as good as dead here,” said 27-year-old Martin Musonza who was participating in the demonstrations since last Friday.
“No one is prepared to work with Musvaire because he was rejected by the people and we would rather not vote or support the opposition. The situation is the same in Uzumba, there are disgruntled people because our party is not ready to listen to our concerns.
“It is their choice however and they will reap the consequences because we are not going to work with Musvaire, we don’t want him because he has failed to represent us,” declared one of the supporters who declined to be named.
While Shamu could not be reached for comment, Musvaire accused his rivals of being sellouts saying he had won the primaries fairly.
“It is Mutiwekuziva and Chikono who are mobilising these people yet on the polling day we shook hands as they accepted defeat. They are the ones who attempted to rig the elections because their supporters voted twice at Maramba where I had no agents.
“We are talking here about people who might not be Zanu PF after all because one wonders how that would be helpful to them and the party,” Masvaire said.
Several groups including some from Harare were still demonstrating at Zanu PF headquarters by Monday.
Among them were placard-waving supporters from Epworth and Harare South who were clamouring for Mugabe’s intervention as Amos Midzi, party chairman for Harare, was according to one of the placards “killing the party by inviting another bhora musango.”
In Masvingo, two candidates, gospel musician-cum-politician Elias Musakwa and Munyaradzi Kereke former advisor to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono both filed papers with the nomination court to represent the party in Bikita West.