Zanu PF burning

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe faces another "bhora musango" (vote the opponents) after his party controversially rejected candidates in several constituencies, triggering anger-fuelled demonstrations at the Zanu PF headquarters yesterday.

Zanu PF immediately postponed primary elections from Monday to Wednesday.

In a statement, Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo insisted that the vetting exercise for primary elections had gone well.

“This is to give teams being deployed to all provinces to supervise the elections enough time. The venues remain the same.

“Provincial election directorates are directed to meet on Sunday 23 June, 2013 to review and consider any complaints on nomination and submit reports to the national elections directorate on Monday June 24, 2013 by 4pm.” But angry party supporters had already made their views clear.

Clad in party regalia emblazoned with faces of their preferred candidates, the placard-waving protestors threatened to vote for the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai if their demands were not met.

“Gushungo pindirai”, “Watasarudza ndiye watada”, (Mugabe intervene, We stand by our choice) was inscribed on some of the placards that greeted Webster Shamu, the Zanu PF secretary for commissariat.

Shamu frantically tried to calm flaring tempers. But party supporters were in a defiant mood, with a visibly shaken Shamu trying to explain the criteria used to select candidates.

A group from Zvimba North claimed their MP of 18 years, Ignatius Chombo had done nothing for the constituency and that his ex-wife Marian should be allowed to stand in the primaries. Marian was disqualified.

“He (Chombo) has been with us for 18 years but kana chinjausi zvayo yaavaka hapana. Vana vedu vari kudzidza vachitemwa nemabhaudi, $50 000 yeCommunity (sic) (Constituency) Development Fund nekwayakaenda hatizive, sei asiri kusungwa? (he has not done anything, even building a small thatched building.

“Our children are learning in schools without roofs and we don’t know what he did with Constituency Development Funds.)

 “He has not helped the community in any way. Why has he not been arrested for diverting government funds,” said an irate supporter right in the face of Shamu.

“Tinomuzivira paTV (We only know him from TV). If we call him, he tells us I am on my way to China. So literally we do not have a representative.

“If the party fails to address this problem, surely we will be left with two options, tinovhotera (we will vote for) MDC kana kuti (or) president Mugabe chete (only).”

The chaos characterising the Zanu PF primary elections punches holes in the party’s assertions that it is a united machine going into crucial elections.

So rancourous were the demonstrations that anti-riot police had to be called in to quell the simmering tensions.

And the coalition of the wounded came from far and wide, with some protesting the barring of Energy Mutodi from standing in Goromonzi West, while others from Mutoko South were agitating for Herbert Shumbamhini who is the demonstrators’ preferred candidate for the Mutoko South seat currently held by Women Affairs minister Olivia Muchena.

The Goromonzi West supporters are advocating for musician Mutodi, who was disqualified by the National Elections Directorate, from contesting against incumbent Beater Nyamupinga.

Furious supporters from Mhangura were angry at deputy Health minister Douglas Mombeshora, who they accused of destroying his rival’s CV’s. The Mhangura mob was demanding that Precious Chinhamo be allowed to contest in line with the party’s gender policy.

“He (Mombeshora) has been there for two terms but he has not done a thing for us,” said Patrick Banda.
“He steals contenders’ papers so that he goes uncontested. We want the party to give a chance to mother Chinhamo, this can save our constituency from rampant corruption. Ndivava vanhu varikudyisa bato (these are the people causing Zanu PF’s downfall).”

Shamu told the gathering that “due diligence” was done based on the set criteria and only applications that satisfied the criteria were approved.

A spirited effort to calm the angry supporters by Shamu could not quell the agitation by the defiant mob. Only the intervention of armed riot police saved the day.

“Ndataura kudhara kuti tichagara pasi navamuri kuda kuti tione kuti zvoitwa sei, saka chiendai. Chivaburitsai (I have addressed you and we are going to hold meetings with your favoured candidates so go. Disperse them),” Shamu said directing the cops.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he could not comment on the protest as he was away. - Wendy Muperi

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