Zanu PF provincial elections: Manicaland threatens protest vote
MUTARE – The recent outcome of Zanu PF Manicaland Provincial elections have given birth to divisions following allegations of election rigging, which has seen disgruntled party supporters vowing to vote for the opposition in the forthcoming 2023 harmonized elections.
A protest vote rocked Zanu PF in 2008 elections when party members discarded the late President Robert Mugabe and voted for the late Morgan Tsvangirai—the leader of the opposition MDC-T – resulting in an upsetting loss to the ruling party.
This was as a result of allegations of rigging and imposition of candidates during the Zanu PF’s chaotic primary elections that saw the agitated supporters paying their allegiance to Tsvangirai, who was Mugabe’s toughest contender in the history of Zimbabwe’s presidential elections.
The results were held for almost two months by the stunned Zanu PF regime, amid extensive allegations of ballot tempering and fraud.
A run-off then ensued with Zanu PF militia allegedly engaged in an orgy of violence, which saw hundreds of the MDC-T supporters killed, forcing Tsvangirai, who had given Mugabe and Zanu PF a political head ache to withdraw from the race.
Mugabe declared himself winner after a widely condemned one-man race.
The recent Manicaland provincial elections, uncovered warring factions between President Emerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, which have begun crossing swords of factional supremacy that could gravely affect the revolutionary party’s electoral destiny in the imminent 2023 general plebiscite.
According to the provisional results released, for the party’s provincial chairmanship, Mike Madiro defeated Albert Nyakuedzwa.
Rusape based Happiness Nyakuedzwa won against Chido Sanyatwe from Nyanga district to land the powerful Provincial Women’s League boss.
Stanley Sakupwanya from Rusape defeated Dunmore Mambondiyani for the post of Provincial Youth Chairman.
However, the results have caused solemn rumblings of discontent and there are fears of protest voting from the irked supporters.
According to impeccable sources within the party, political tempers in Manicaland are currently flaring, while political relations are tumultuous and turbulent within the alleged Mnangagwa and Chiwenga camps.
“To be honest those that felt their candidates were rigged have openly said that they will not support the party and will vote for the opposition in 2023. There are serious claims and complaints of rigging and as we speak the province is at war and loggerheads between the Madiro and Nyakuedzwa camps,” said the source.
“While we know that the candidates are fighting within the provinces, the bigger picture of the factional fights is between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga. This could be another election that can be used to measure the ground on possible succession within the party,” our source said.
Some war veterans interviewed said: “If they do not solve this issue properly then we are going to implement the Bhora Musango issue. You know what happened in 2008. We will simply vote for the opposition and we can do that. They know we can do it and we are ready to sell our vote.”
A youth said: “They have taken away our votes, but, we will see when the time of crossing the bridge comes. We have the highest number of votes as youths and we will simply vote for (Nelson) Chamisa. We are tired of this rigging in Manicaland. The writing is on the wall.”
Women supporters interviewed said it was unfortunate that those that would have won are said to have lost.
“We will do a protest vote. We have been telling our party leadership for long that things in Manicaland are not OK, but we are completely surprised that the leadership is actually doing the opposite. This time we do not have any option but to revisit the Bhora Musango,” said a woman.
However, another section has said the results were not rigged and they should stand.
“The problem is that many people had written off Madiro not knowing that he is a skimmer. He did his home work thoroughly and implemented his strategies well. But is now surprising that some people are now crying foul,” said a Zanu PF member who declined to be named.
“Politics is all about strategies. Zanu PF unites us all. No one can stand on their own and make it. We need to speak with one voice. We should understand that when going into an election, the victor should come from Zanu PF,” he said.
“If it is an internal election, there is no loser or winner. The person with the majority of votes should represent the party, while the rest of the voters will rally behind that candidate even if they were not your first choice,” he said.
Disgruntled party supporters in Manicaland province have said the continuous rigging of internal elections and the imposition of candidates will affect Zanu PF 2023 votes.