Zanu PF  primaries: Ex-opposition officials cleared  to contest Zanu PF National Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha

Joseph Madzimure

Senior Reporter

THE much anticipated Zanu PF primary elections that were postponed last week will now be held this Saturday with an array of candidates including those who were once in the opposition set to contest.

The primary elections were scheduled for March 18 but were later on postponed as the party was overwhelmed with a large number of candidates who wanted to represent it in the forthcoming general elections.

A total of 2 858 Curriculum Vitaes were submitted, with 99,9 percent of the aspiring candidates making it through the vetting process.

Midlands province alone has a total of 1 429 CVs while Bulawayo has the lowest with 85 CVs submitted.

A number of candidates in the Midlands province sailed through uncontested.

Party cell registers will be used as the voters’ roll, while party district centres will be used as voting centres.

The party has already deployed Politburo members who will announce the names of successful candidates and monitor the election process in all of the country’s 10 provinces.

Those deployed are Cdes Elifas Mashaba (Bulawayo); Charles Tavengwa (Harare); Lovemore Matuke (Masvingo); Patrick Chinamasa (Manicaland); Kenneth Musanhi (Mashonaland Central); Mike Bimha (Mashonaland East); Christopher Mutsvangwa (Mashonaland West); Obert Mpofu (Matabeleland North); Richard Ndlovu (Matabeleland South) and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Midlands Province).

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Zanu PF National Political Commissar Cde Bimha said polling would start at 7am and close at 4pm.

“President Mnangagwa who is the party’s First Secretary has directed that Zanu PF primary elections be held on March 25, 2023,” said Cde Bimha.

Names of successful candidates who will contest in the primaries will be announced in their provinces by designated Politburo members.

Cde Bimha said the Politburo members would also give details of how the entire process would be conducted in terms of deployment of presiding officers, ballot boxes, ballot papers, and the counting and displaying of the results.

The Politburo sat on Monday and went through all the reports, province by province and one by one.

Former opposition party members who are contesting for National Assembly slots are Cdes Tongai Matutu and Simon Chidakwa among others.

“What is also of interest is that a decision was made by the Politburo to accept and recommend former members of the MDC or Citizen Coalition for Change who have recently come forward as returnees to the party,” said Cde Bimha.

“The decision was made by the Politburo that any former MDC or CCC member willing to contest in the primary elections for a local authority position and House of Assembly are free to do so.  However, at the moment it was felt that it is too early to allow them to contest at Senatorial level.”

Among those disqualified was Harare Provincial Commissar Cde Kudakwashe Damson, who allegedly beat up Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officials who were on duty conducting voter education in Epworth recently.

Yesterday, all provinces held Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meetings where senior Politburo members from the respective provinces announced the names of all candidates who have been successful towards participating in primary elections.

There will be various levels of authority to conduct these elections. There is a Constituency Command Centre, Administrative District Command Centre, Provincial Command Centre and National Command Centre based at the party headquarters.

“As elections are being conducted, normally we also have hitches here and there. We also have people who have complaints, and there will be an ad-hoc tribunal to receive these complaints.

“So whoever feels they have been treated unfairly has every right to lodge a complaint and they will be attended to well before the results are announced,” Cde Bimha said.

The results of the elections will be displayed at the polling stations and also conveyed to the Administrative District Command Centre, Provincial Command Centre and National Command Centre.

It is only the National Command Centre which will announce official results. The party has already set 87 000 cells that have been verified, reaching a total of 4.5 million voters.

Zanu PF has set a target of 5 million votes for the 2023 harmonised elections.

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