There are growing calls within Zanu-PF for a revisit of provincial elections held last year after it emerged that they were organised and held on factional lines, with revelations that procedure was not followed in most cases.
Media reports published before, during and after the elections clearly indicated that there was a faction in the ruling party whose officials were biased while supervising the elections.
The Daily News of December 2 2013, published an article titled: “Mujuru mauls Mnangagwa”, in a way confirming the factional discourse that characterised the polls.
The paper said: “Vice president Joice Mujuru’s camp romped to an emphatic victory over the weekend, crushing their rivals in the Zanu-PF provincial polls.
“From the results presented so far, Mujuru’s camp could have reached its target of eight provinces with a chance of getting to nine if Temba Mliswa is elected in Mashonaland West, where he was said to be holding an unassailable lead.
“Results from the seven provinces where polls were held to choose provincial leaders suggest that Mujuru loyalists won the race.”
In another article on November 4 2013, the same paper ran an article under the headline: “Mujuru leads takeover race”, which claimed that a faction purportedly led by the VP was likely to succeed President Mugabe.
In that story the paper asserts that: “Although Zanu-PF suspended provincial elections for eight provinces after reports of vote-rigging and intimidation, elections held in the Midlands and Manicaland provinces saw perceived Mujuru sympathisers winning.
“Jason Machaya, who is believed to be aligned to the Mujuru faction, won the chairmanship for Midlands, a province considered to be Mnangagwa’s stronghold.” Before the elections on November 30 2013, the Daily News published another story which pointed to an element of factionalism in the polls titled: “Mujuru to wipe out Mnangagwa?”
In the story, the paper insinuated that the Mujuru faction was targeting a clean sweep in the provincial elections.
Another article published by the Daily News on November 25 2013, titled: “Mujuru bashes Mnangagwa” claimed victory for Vice President Mujuru after Zanu-PF Politburo endorsed the results of the provincial elections.
“Vice President Joice Mujuru seems to have taken the lead in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe after Zanu-PF’s Politburo, which met on Saturday, re-affirmed and endorsed provincial elections held in Midlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central,” reads part of the article.
The Standard of November 24 2013, also celebrated the endorsement of the provincial elections by the Politburo as a victory for the Mujuru faction.
“There were fireworks at the Zanu-PF’s Politburo meeting yesterday as different factions squared-up over the widening divisions and chaos that has characterised the provincial elections,” wrote the paper.
“But the Extraordinary Politburo meeting ended up endorsing elections in three disputed provinces, giving Vice President Joice Mujuru an edge as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe intensifies.”
The subsequent winners of the disputed polls were Cdes Ray Kaukonde (Mashonaland East), Luke Mushore (Mashonaland Central), Amos Midzi (Harare), Callistus Ndlovu (Bulawayo), Kallisto Gwanetsa (Masvingo), John Mvundura (Manicaland), Mliswa (Mashonaland West), Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), Richard Moyo (Matabeleland North) and Machaya (Midlands).
After the elections, former Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central provincial chair Cde Dickson Mafios penned an article published in The Herald on November 15 2013, describing the polls as a circus.
“Things are not moving well because you know, the conduct of the elections for the party is just a circus because there are no rules and regulations to guide us through and through and as we speak the announcement of the results is just a comedy to us because you know, you can’t have a person who conducted the election not announcing the results, the results are being announced by a person who did not even participate,” he said.
In Manicaland, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa withdrew her candidature against Cde Mvundura after glaring irregularities in the conduct of the elections.
She said people were being intimidated not to vote for her and the voters’ registration was not in order.
Cde Mutsvangwa alleged that Cde Mvundura was superintending an election in which he was also a candidate.