Controversy marks Zanu PF election

 

BULAWAYO - Zanu PF central committee member Killian Sibanda — who is linked to the party’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40) — romped to a controversial victory in the party’s primary election for the Nkulumane constituency this week.

The internal party polls were marred by serious allegations of vote-buying, violence and intimidation as Sibanda beat Alderman David Ndlovu, who is linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction, by a small margin of just four votes.

Bulawayo provincial chairman, Dennis Ndlovu, confirmed the contested results to the Daily News but downplayed the allegations of irregularities.

“We selected one of the central committee members to represent the party on the forthcoming Nkulumane Constituency by-elections. Killian Sibanda polled 297 votes against Alderman David Ndlovu who polled 293.

“Tempers rise whenever there is an election, which is normal anywhere, but to me the turnout was not really good as some people were turned away, but I don’t have the reasons as yet as to why they were turned away.
“But if they were turned away for good reasons there was no problem,” Ndlovu said.

Zanu PF is eying the Nkulumane seat that was left vacant following the death of MDC legislator Thamsanqa Mahlangu — as former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC remains resolute that it will not partake in any elections before requisite electoral reforms are implemented.

But an election agent in Nkulumane, Cecilia Verenga, was adamant that the party polls were fraught with irregularities.
“The elections were rigged before the actual voting day as Killian and his team started campaigning soon after Mahlangu’s death.

“Alderman Ndlovu never had a single chance to campaign because he was not informed of the dates when the primary elections would be held,” Verenga said.

She further claimed that hundreds of voters, known to be aligned to Ndlovu, had been turned away as their names could not be found on the voters’ roll.

In one of the incidents, in ward 23, Zanu PF politburo member Absalom Sikhosana and his wife reportedly failed to vote after their names were not found on the voters’ roll.

“This is how funny the whole election was. Imagine if senior members like Sikhosana and his wife failed to vote, what more about the rank and file?

“The voters’ roll was prepared by the G40 people and Alderman Ndlovu was never given a chance to see it. Even the district chairs were also denied the chance to verify those on the voters’ roll,” Verenga told the Daily News.

She said what made the alleged rigging plot even clearer was that the Electoral College was only made public a few hours before voting commenced, where only members at cell level had voting rights.

But Sibanda would have none of it, maintaining that the polls were free and fair.

“I would like to thank the Nkulumane people for recognising me as their leader. My motive is to work for everyone including those who didn’t vote for me,” he said.

He however, admitted that many people had been turned away as their names could not be found on the voters’ roll, something he said might have led to the poor turnout.

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