ZANU PF was yesterday forced to abandon its Bulawayo city centre district elections after two factions angling for President Robert Mugabe’s post openly clashed.
The elections that were scheduled for Davis Hall were rocked by rigging allegations after a reported 3 000 aspiring voters turned up instead of 1 000.
Insiders said the candidates for the district chairperson Douglas Gadzira who allegedly belongs to a faction supporting Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joe Chiyangwa from the faction backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru, did not hide their allegiances in the run-up to the ill-fated poll.
“The issue was about factionalism. There is Chiyangwa whom they believe is in Vice-President Mujuru’s camp and Gadzira whom they believe is in Mnangagwa’s faction,” said a source.
“However, the Mnangagwa faction realised that they don’t have enough support as compared to the Mujuru faction so they felt it necessary to postpone the elections and until they gather momentum.”
The new date for the elections was not announced. However, sources said the factions agreed that at least two weeks was needed to fix the voters’ roll. Sources said there were instances where at least 20 people turned up claiming they stayed at the same house.
Some of the aspiring voters reportedly came from the western suburbs when the register was restricted to residents from within the city centre.
Zanu PF provincial chairperson Callistus Ndlovu claimed the elections were not abandoned, but refused to comment further on the matter.
“Elections were not abandoned and if you want more information concerning elections please contact the commissariat,” he said.
Factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF has been intensifying ahead of next year’s elective congress, crucial in the party’s succession battle.
The provincial Zanu PF executive in Masvingo has defied a politburo order to re-run regional elections which they claim were fraught with irregularities.
The Mujuru camp, which is running the province, is reportedly not willing to hold the polls again.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Masvingo did not have a serious problem “in the sense that out of eight constituencies only one had a problem and that is Masvingo Central where Eddison Zvogbo Junior had been allocated a post of secretary for legal affairs and yet the position for Masvingo central was only for one post. They made a mistake.”
Gutu South lawmaker Shuvai Mahofa refuted claims that Zanu PF was being ravaged by factionalism in Masvingo province.
— Additional reporting by VOA