VOTING in Mbire and Muzarabani districts, Mashonaland Central, was conducted in the dead of night with polling agents shut out of stations as Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe deployed a well-oiled rigging machine in a last minute bid to pull a hitherto unlikely victory against nemesis Tafadzwa Musarara.
Ballot papers are said to have been delivered at exactly 3:50am Wednesday morning with voting commencing at 0411 hours, almost 24 hours from the initial 7am on Tuesday announced by Zanu PF.
Councillors were employed to pay voters US$5 for a vote while a Samuel Mtukudzi, a pastor without any position in the party, delivered food hampers to each of the electorates as he solicited for votes for Kazembe.
Mtukudzi was imposed by brother, Charles Mtukudzi to collate election results at the District Command Centre.
“Elections in Mbire did not go well, people were paying US$5 for Kazembe’s vote, Mbire district would have people voting thrice for a single person with votes as high as 260 to 300 instead of the 120 we knew,” said one of the voters who identified homself as Tabvapano from Mbire.
“This was all managed by those at the Command Centre as Charles Mtukudzi who was Kazembe’s campaign manager, was controlling the whole DCC with his young brother Samuel Mtukudzi who has no post whatsoever but was handling all the numbers,” he said.
“He was also giving out hampers to all those who would have promised to vote for Kazembe. Being the Chief Elections Officer in Mbire I dismiss these results, I was not even called at any point to see the numbers or votes at any point. I was advised this is in house and does not have to be publicised.”
“We want a rerun so people get a chance to express their views in the ballot box.”
Kazembe and Musarara were involved in a tight race for the provincial chairperson post with results gleaned by NewZimbabwe.com indicating the former has won by 3 259 votes.
There have been complaints from across the country and the party is still hesitant on releasing results which could damage the already weaken party as a result of rampant factional fights.
“The national election directorate and the national political commissar is still processing results and once all these processes are done, the results will be announced.There is nothing fishy that is going on. The announcement will be done swiftly but it is just a matter of procedure to ensure that the process moves on smoothly as it happened,” said Tafadzwa Mugwadi, the Zanu PF director of information on Wednesday.
That however has not stopped others from demanding a rerun.
Moment Nyamakoko, another Mbire Election Agent was chased out of a polling station alongside his colleagues by alleged Kazembe supporters.
“A car delivered ballot papers 0350 hours and started voting at 4am in the morning on Wednesday,” said Nyamakoko.
“As agents we were chased out despite that we had identified ourselves, we were resigned to following proceedings from windows. We then called our Mbire youth affairs member who was the Chief Election Officer but we were not assisted as he told us he will communicate the matter with our leaders,” he said.
“Of the less than 70 people present, each would repeatedly vote until a certain number was reached but when we asked we failed to get a satisfactory answer.”
Didymus Kagoma, implicated a local councillor, Muzeza whom he said was one of those who openly declared they were working on orders “from above”.
Fears abound results could be doctored to ensure favourable candidates make it against those vetted out by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and other security arms.
Factional battle lines between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga have also weighed into the chaos that characterised the elections.