ZANU PF’s controversial primary elections have opened a can of worms in Matabeleland South with angry officials predicting a massive electoral defeat for President Robert Mugabe and his party.
NQOBANI NDLOVU/ NDUDUZO TSHUMA
Retired Brigadier General Levi Mayihlome and three other aspiring contestants this week wrote to Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo expressing their anger over the manner last week’s internal polls were conducted.
The angry officials said if the party failed to address the issue, the Umzingwane parliamentary seat would go to the MDCs in the forthcoming elections, citing disgruntlement among party supporters over the alleged rigging of the primaries.
Mayihlome lost to William Dhewa in the primaries described as fraudulent and a “grand scam”. He alleges massive vote rigging.
Three other aspiring Zanu PF contestants who lost the primaries, Nobuhle Mathe (eyeing Ward 5), Greta Ncube (aspiring MP) and Silingiwe Masuku (Ward 1) also roundly condemned the primaries and predicted a massive defeat for Zanu PF.
The four have since written to Khaya Moyo, Andrew Langa, the party’s Matabeleland
South provincial chair and the Umzingwane district elections directorate, expressing their disquiet over the handling of the primaries in the constituency.
“It is clearly turning out that this was a grand scam orchestrated to cheat and steal the poll,” part of a five-page letter written by Mayihlome reads.
“Such fraudsters, who think that Habane is Umzingwane, can never win against the MDCs because they have nothing to offer the electorate or let alone understand the expectations of the Umzingwane electorate.”
In the letter seen by Southern Eye, the former soldier detailed alleged irregularities that he said characterised the primaries, among them the bussing of voters.
“As a consequence of the above irregularities, there is a lot of disgruntlement among party members and unless this fraudulent vote is nullified and people allowed voting freely in a transparent rerun, there will be certain voter apathy if not protest votes, both of which are totally undesirable,” he added.
Dhewa, the Zanu PF Umzingwane constituency candidate, will face off with Nomalanga Khumalo (MDC T), Ngqabutho Dube (MDC) and Mildred Mnkandla (Zapu) in the parliamentary elections.
Another aspiring candidate, Ncube, in his letter charged, that the way the primary elections had been conducted smacked of a deliberate plan to destroy Mugabe’s party.
“I would like to lodge a complaint against the officials, as I was one of the candidates contesting the primary elections were held, ie, presiding officials had interest in some of the candidates and this was completely the works of the opposition to destroy the party and the President since it was a planned thing,” Ncube wrote.
Zanu PF Matabeleland South provincial chairman Andrew Langa yesterday said he had not received any formal complaint over the conduct of primaries in Umzingwane.
“All I know is that a primary election was held in Umzingwane with eight or so contestants and William Dhewa emerged as a winner. Whenever an election is held, there is a winner and loser,” he said.
“We expect that all those who lost rally behind the winning candidate because that is our policy as a party.
“For anyone to suggest that Zanu PF will lose in Umzingwane because Dhewa won, is negative thinking and attitude.
“Dewa is a bona fide member of Zanu PF and I am confident that he will win.”