Zanu PF admits primaries 'irregularities'

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has admitted there were electoral “irregularities” during the recent primaries, but brushed off claims of outright poll fraud, stating the malpractice was too insignificant to influence the result.

Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, told reporters after a Politburo meeting on Wednesday that it is possible there were irregularities in the internal elections, but said the party wanted to close that chapter and focus on the crunch harmonised poll.

The primary election was marred by gross and widespread irregularities, infractions and malpractices as well as electoral violations which fundamentally impugned the validity of the results.

During the primaries, Zanu PF provided four pieces of bond paper to each voter to write the name of the preferred candidate for MP, Councillor, Senator and provincial council representative.

There was a single ballot box for these four votes. Instead of writing the four names on each paper for the respective candidates, the majority of voters wrote just the name of the MP, on all the four papers, dramatically inflating figures for aspiring legislators.

Gumbo spoke amid angry demonstrations by vanquished candidates and their supporters who claimed their share of the vote was stolen to inflate the winning candidates’ tally to bring them a crushing win.

The petitioners presented several instances of irregularities which vitiated the votes cast and the sheer volume of these irregularities had a material and substantial effect on the outcome of the election as a whole.

Despite attempts to paper over the poll fraud, there is lingering public outcry over the rigged primaries that disgruntled members say were achieved mostly through “falsification”, meaning multiple voting by the same citizens and ballot stuffing.

Waving placards outside the party headquarters as the Politburo sat, disgruntled candidates said the vote was unfair but stopped short of calling it illegitimate.

In an apparent attempt at conciliation, Gumbo said the primaries were now water under the bridge.

“Generally, the party’s position is that yes there may have been irregularities, there may have been problem cases that may have occurred, as of now we want to close ranks and focus on the elections,” Gumbo said.

He said the Politburo received a report from the chairman of the national elections directorate about what happened in the primary elections and nomination court.

“All we are saying to everyone, those who were affected by the unfortunate irregularities is that let’s close ranks and forget about what has happened and look to the future,” Gumbo said.

“We expect everyone to support those who were nominated. The grievances will be resolved after. We have made a commitment today that after the elections we are going to sit down and look at various cases; we create an environment whereby people feel that they are part of Zanu PF not renegades.”

Meanwhile, Gumbo said ?ex-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe advisor Munyaradzi Kereke was not cleared to be the party candidate for Bikita West saying Elias Musakwa was the approved candidate.

“No, no its only one candidate, that is Musakwa who was endorsed by the party,” Gumbo said.

“The other, Munyaradzi Kereke was from the beginning told that he can’t stand because of his cases, or problems but the provincial leadership in Masvingo decided to do otherwise. The fact of the matter is that it is only Musakwa standing for the election.”

Despite Gumbo’s ?denial, Kereke and Musakwa were both duly nominated Zanu PF candidates for Bikita West by Rex Pudurai, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission provincial officer at Masvingo Magistrate’s Court last Friday.

Kereke is facing allegations of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl three years ago, a charge he strongly  denies, claiming police had not acted up to now because they found no case against him.

The girl, now 14, through her lawyers has mounted a spirited campaign to get her alleged attacker on trial, writing to police chief Augustine Chihuri and to ?Attorney General Johannes Tomana saying she has the right to seek justice against her attacker and that there should be no impunity granted to powerful men who rape minors.

Kereke’s candidacy was said to be facing fierce resistance from the Zanu PF presidium.

Comments (4)

Zanu yakaoma. This time mapera.

jm - 5 July 2013

If these guys can rig their own elections then we are headed for serious problems come July 31st. The hurried nature of the preparations for the election points to a massive fraud. It has already started with the postal votes.

Elias Munyaradzi Mbuwayesango - 5 July 2013

ZANU PF ndiBABA, MDC T ndi Mukoma .

alvin tembo - 5 July 2013

ZANU PF ndiBABA, MDC T ndi Mukoma .

alvin tembo - 5 July 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.