VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa last weekend unwittingly exposed Zanu PF’s election rigging strategies when he told party members in the Midlands that they had devised a system where traditional leaders, ward chairpersons and councillors would closely monitor their subjects to ensure they voted the ruling party’s candidates in the forthcoming by-elections slated for March 27.
Addressing Zanu PF members at the launch of his wife Auxilia’s election campaign for the Zibagwe-Chirumanzu constituency, Mnangagwa said they would monitor voting patterns, intimidate and trail voters so that they voted the ruling party candidates in the Zibagwe-Chirumanzu and Mt Darwin West by-elections.
He warned that those who failed to vote for the ruling party would be effectively closed out of government programmes by what he termed a ruzhowa durawall.
The vice-president insinuated that those known to be against the party should not be given a chance to cast their vote.
“What has brought us together is an election which is coming. Auxillia will be contesting with three other candidates who do not have a history and I don’t even know what these people have done in their lives,” he said.
“I, therefore, ask of all the 12 wards in Chief Chirumanzu’s area should go to the polls with the headman in front, district chairman following behind the people and the councillor should come and vote.”
He added: “We know that each polling station has its own results. We will want to know from each polling station where the people
would have come from and how they got in.
“What we might fail to know is how death will come, but anyone who is voting, we can trace the pattern because there is one. Nobody comes to vote in the same manner death comes, for death you cannot build a fence to keep it out, but a person who votes, we can tell if they are for us or not with us and those who are not ours we will fence them out.”
Mnangagwa said during the July 2013 general elections he won his seat by 18 000 votes while the other two candidates failed to garner a combined 2 000 votes and he was expecting that this time around the votes would be tripled in favour of his wife.
After the 2013 elections, engaged in a witch-hunting exercise to weed out perceived MDC-T supporters from farms in the Zibagwe-Chirumanzu constituency.
Mnangagwa confirmed that a similar purge could be applied if the electorate voted “wrongly” in the by-election.
“I don’t see how that can happen in Chief Chirumanzu’s area,” he said.
“We just want correct votes on the day.”
Mnangagwa’s utterances may have all but validated the MDC-T’s claims that the electoral playing field was uneven and Zanu PF relied on intimidating voters. The MDC-T, which has boycotted the by-elections, said the party was not surprised by Mnangagwa’s comments.
“They cannot be trusted with holding a free and fair election which passes the test of credibility and we are, therefore, not shocked that Mnangagwa and Zanu PF said that because they are perennial vote-riggers who will stop at nothing to manipulate and bastardise the electoral process just to secure a win,” said MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu.
Gutu went further to say voters in any election should be given an unfettered right without any undue influence from anyone to vote for a candidate of their choice.
Zanu PF has been accused of using underhand tactics, which include violence, tampering with constituency borders and manipulation of the voters’ roll to win polls.
Gutu said his party boycotted the polls because it was clear the process was already predetermined.
The only opposition parties that have confirmed participation in the two by-elections are National Constitutional Assembly and Transform Zimbabwe.