SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZANU PF has centralised the printing of ballot papers for its forthcoming district co-ordinating committee (DCC) elections, to avert cases of fraud and rigging which have previously blighted its internal polls.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Zanu PF national political commissar Victor Matemadanda said the move was also meant to thwart wily attempts by elements belonging to the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction to impose their candidates.
This comes as the countdown to the DCC elections has been marred by allegations of dirty money changing hands, amid unproven claims that remnants of the vanquished G40 were burning the midnight oil to influence the outcome of the elections in an alleged bid to engineer their group’s political comeback.
It also comes as the demons of factionalism that gutted Zanu PF during the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe have returned to haunt the party with a vengeance.
“We are taking measures to make sure that the elections are smooth. It will be the commissariat and the security departments which will be in charge of printing the ballot papers.
“There will be no names of disqualified people and ballot stuffing.
“We are still waiting for directions from the politburo … but what I know is that the commissariat and the security department are going to be in charge.
“Some people just make rigging claims without evidence. In the last election, we all heard about the V11 forms.
“So, even in the upcoming DCC elections it’s the same … contestants must have representatives at each polling station,” Matemadanda told the Daily News.
“We are going to take measures to stop rigging and this is a security issue. I can’t disclose full information on what we are going to do.
“Every election is bound to have complaints and we will look at them case by case. We are going to do everything to make sure the elections are smooth,” he added.
Insiders also told the Daily News that party bigwigs were worried that if they did not centralise the printing of ballot papers, the DCC elections would degenerate into chaos.
“The party leadership wants to stop the habit of people who end up occupying senior positions after rigging elections.
“In previous elections, some contestants found their names removed from the ballot paper, while there were also complaints regarding ballot stuffing.
“The party fears that if this election is not handled well, it might split again along factional lines. These elections are about rival factions building their political bases,” one of the insiders told the Daily News.
This comes after the party’s recent provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meetings that were held in eight provinces to manage the selection of candidates for the DCC elections were marred by allegations of factionalism, tribalism and name-dropping.
Things got so bad to the extent that some desperate senior party officials allegedly abused the names of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his vice president Constantino Chiwenga, in a bid to “force through the names of their preferred candidates”.
Zanu PF secretary for security, Lovemore Matuke, also told the Daily News recently that the “senseless mudslinging” in the party was sullying the selection of candidates for the DCC elections.
“We did our vetting and everything went well. What is worrying is that people are labelling each other G40 without concrete evidence.
“It’s an election, and so if someone realises that his or her competitor can win, he or she will label him or her a G40 member.
“People are throwing all sorts of accusations at each other without evidence,” Matuke said then.
“As the security department, our job is to vet candidates, and I can tell you that people are just making unnecessary accusations against each other.
“The whole process is now being conducted by the commissariat department, but we did our job diligently,” he added.
Reacting to the chaos caused by the impending DCC elections, Zanu PF stalwart and former Cabinet minister during Mugabe’s tenure, Didymus Mutasa, also accused senior party officials recently of being behind the dog-eat-dog mayhem ravaging the former liberation movement ahead of the highly-divisive elections.
Mutasa said he had little doubt that Zanu PF bigwigs were muddying the waters ahead of the polls, creating chaos at grassroots levels.
“You cannot have someone coming all the way from Harare to conduct elections in Manicaland, for example.
“What is the provincial minister doing there? He or she is the person on the ground and must have authority over party chairpersons in the districts.
“Confusion is being caused by the people from Harare dictating to people in places like Rusape what to do in terms of voting,” Mutasa said.
The DCC structures elect Zanu PF’s 10 provincial executives — where the party and Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo.
The party’s DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and former vice president Joice Mujuru’s battles to succeed Mugabe.
Then, Mnangagwa’s group had gained control of most regions, including Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central province.
Zanu PF’s brutal factional, tribal and succession wars that had long ravaged the ruling party were temporarily ended in dramatic fashion by the military which rolled its tanks into Harare on November 15, 2017 — after deciding that they had had enough of Mugabe and his erratic wife Grace.
However, the demons of factionalism in the party have returned with renewed vigour as highlighted by the brouhaha surrounding the re-introduced DCCs — whose election dates are set to be announced by the politburo at one of its next meetings.