George Maponga in Masvingo—
The Zanu-PF Politburo will make a determination on inconclusive elections to choose a new provincial chairperson for Masvingo after only 64 percent of the districts managed to vote on Thursday, with the rest frustrated by the rains. The rains made some access roads totally impassable. Former ruling party Masvingo chair Cde Ezra Chadzamira took a commanding lead, with provisional results released yesterday morning showing him with 12 393 votes against his rival Retired Colonel Mutero Masanganise, who managed 4 888.
The results were from the 263 party districts that voted out of an expected 408. Beside the rains, party officials also noted logistical challenges such as a shortage of ballot papers and fuel.
The election was supposed to start at 8am ending at 1pm, but by 3pm voting had not started in some areas owing to delays in moving voting material and polling officers.
In districts such as Mwenezi – which has 60 party districts – voting completely failed to take place, while in Chiredzi, with 62 party districts, only 48 voted. Some areas were inaccessible because of the flooded Runde River.
Interim Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Dr Joram Gumbo, who was conducting the polls, said he would present the provisional poll outcome to the Politburo for direction.
At total of 17 422 people participated in the elections that had 141 spoilt papers.
“I will present a report to the Politburo and a decision will be made on the way forward,” said Cde Gumbo. “I will give my recommendation as the returning officer, but I cannot disclose it now because it would be like telling the Politburo what to do.’’
Dr Gumbo said he remained the interim Zanu-PF chair for Masvingo Province until a final determination on the poll outcome. He accused some ruling party officials of trying to influence the results.
“I received reports from people on the ground about officials who were clearly biased in the way they conducted the polls,” said Cde Gumbo. “Some of these officials stopped voting in some party districts in Chivi after noting the results were not in favour of their preferred candidate,” he said.
“I want to make it clear that Zanu-PF does not belong to anyone and there is no room for favouritism. I will not tolerate that because I was given a job to do by the Politburo and I want to deliver. Zanu-PF is my party, if anyone wants to practise favouritism they must do it at their own homes.’’
Dr Gumbo’s remarks followed reports that some polling officers disappeared with ballot boxes in Chivi after people had voted. Cde Chadzamira said guidance from the Politburo would be important.
“I want to thank President Mugabe for bringing stability to Zanu-PF in Masvingo Province by giving party members an opportunity to choose a leader of their choice,’’ he said. Col Masanganise (Rtd) said he would not comment until the polls were conclusive.
The Politburo ordered fresh elections in Masvingo after most posts became vacant owing to a number of reasons.
There was also confusion in the party in the province after Cde Chadzamira was reinstated as chair, taking over from Cde Amasa Nhenjana, who was in an acting capacity.