...Mahwende ‘caught with stuffed ballots’ in Masvingo
…Zaka petitions party over ‘massive rigging’
…Mundungehama wins Chiredzi
…Team Bolato in Chivi, Gutu clean sweep
Upenyu Chaota/Moses Ziyambi
The Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections which were run over the weekend are producing controversial results, with with reports of massive fraud being alleged.
New inter-district factions going by the names ‘Team Bolato’ and ‘Team Zanu PF’ have emerged to take control of these all-important grassroots structures that will be critical arbiters of power in the next primaries ahead of 2023 general elections.
When contacted for comment on the allegations of fraud in the elections, party bigwig Jorum Gumbo, who was deployed to Masvingo to preside over the elections, said he had received some complaints on irregularities but was generally satisfied with the conduct of the elections.
“We have so far received results for Gutu, Zaka, Chivi and Bikita districts and the other ones are coming. We had some logistical challenges and the rains did not make it make it easy for us to deliver materials to all places in time.
“In every election, there are people who complain about the results and that is to be expected. Even (US President Donald) Trump is complaining right now. I only receive total results of all voting centres and there could have been some voting irregularities, yes, but those are specific and they will have to be investigated on a case by case basis so that we see what can be done.
“I do not receive results that are specific to one centre where there could have been more votes counted than the number of people in the register. We are using registers that date back to 2017 and 2018 so some changes have happened; there are people who died and there are others who are no longer in the party. We don’t expect such people to vote,” said Gumbo.
Many local Zanu PF sources, however, said the elections were largely fraudulent, with some people who contested for positions moving to some voting centres as presiding officers.
In Masvingo district, alleged Team Bolato member Tawanda Dube, who is contesting against Trust Mugabe for the position of district chairperson, is said to be getting more votes than the maximum number of people in the registers.
A total number of 120 voters are expected to vote for the main wing but sources say that in Ward 7B of Masvingo West, Dube polled 167 votes against Mugabe’s 6 votes. In the same Ward, there were a total of 12 spoiled votes bring the total of votes cast to 185.
Sources said that the results from Ward 7B have since been nullified but Gumbo dismissed the claim, saying nobody could cancel the election results without his knowledge and before he had received the results.
TellZim News has however established that non-existent wards 5B and 5C came into existence mysteriously for the duration of the elections, with all the 120 votes in each ‘new’ ward being won by Dube.
In Ward 6 Masvingo Urban, another Team Bolato member and City of Masvingo Deputy Mayor Wellington Mahwende, who sailed through uncontested as secretary for finance, is said to have been caught with a stuffed bucketful of ballots.
Mahwende refuted the claims when TellZim News reached him for comment, saying people should accept defeat and not tarnish other people’s names.
“No such thing happened. That talk is coming from people who have been defeated heavily and they are just bitter. Vote-counting is progressing well and will be completed soon,” said Mahwende.
In Ward 7 of Masvingo Urban, Charles Munganasa who is contesting for the position of secretary for youth affairs against Agnes Murove, is said to have polled over 80 votes against the maximum expected tally of 40.
In Zaka district, a total of nine losing candidates, who include former Zaka West MP Paradzai Chakona have written to provincial and national party leaders to complain against alleged massive rigging and vote-buying by a faction ‘yakabva kuvakuru’.
Deputy Finance minister and Zaka East Member of Parliament (MP) Clemence Chiduwa won the position of chairperson.
Chakona contested and lost against Zaka Central MP Davison Svuure for the right deputise Chiduwa who, from the very beginning appeared to be the indesputable favourite.
“We, the below listed candidates from Zaka District, Masvingo Province, collectively record and submit this appeal letter to you on the manner and way District Coordinating Committee elections were and are being conducted in Zaka District.
“This petition brings on record some discrepancies and flaws in the conduct of elections. It is our fervent belief that we have fallen victims of functionalism and individualism in Masvingo Province,” reads the petition signed by Chakona, Aleta Makomeke, Brighton Mahoya and Felix Kufandada among others.
In Chiredzi, Siyaki Mundungehama won the position of chairperson after polling 2885 votes against rival Simba Chibememe who got 600.
Norman Sharara will be the vice chairperson after he defeated three rivals by a wide margin. Similarly, Stephen Dziva defeated three rivals by a wide margin to land the position of secretary for administration.
The Chiredzi secretary for finance will be Simbarashe Gwara who defeated Chiredzi Urban ward Councillor and businessman Obert Ngwenya by 1694 against 1288.
In Chivi, there is a massive outcry after Team Bolato, which is said to be fronted by Chivi Rural District Council (RDC) chairperson Godfrey Mukungunugwa, walloped all Team Zanu PF members.
Team Zanu PF members in Chivi are allegedly led by Chivi Central MP Ephraim Gwanongodza and his Chivi North counterpart Mathias Tongofa.
A Zanu PF insider told TellZim News that Gwanongodza and Tongofa were left off-guard and unable to defend their turf after they were sent to Mwenezi as presiding officers, leaving their members to their own devices.
“Though the results are yet to be certified, all those that have won are Team Bolato members. There is nothing for the other faction, and this is bad for the party because it will lead to voter apathy. Abiot Madzore, for example, is not very popular but he has won the race for the secretary for youth affairs position because some of the votes he got were brazenly stolen from Letmore Tizai who was the favourite,” said a source.
As it stands, Chivi will be led by Samuel Mandonde who sailed through uncontested and he will be deputised by former MP Albert Chamwadoro who defeated Tawanda Munyuki by 2211 votes to 1020.
Taurai Masvinu will be new secretary for administration after he defeated Kudakwashe Dzoro by a wide margin.
The district commissariat will be led by Aleck Nhundu who thumped Munashe Pwanyai.
Ward 5 Councillor Grace Mukungunugwa, who is related to Godfrey Mukungunugwa, will be the women’s league secretary after she defeated two rivals Vimbai Takaendesa and Nyembesi Phiri by a wide margin.
In Gutu, only four positions are said to have been contested while the other 19 were taken uncontested following what insiders called an extreme political scheming exercise by Team Bolato.
will be led by former provincial youth chairperson Brian Munyoro, who among
many others, sailed through uncontested.
(An earlier report had erroneously stated that Obert Ngwenya had won the Chiredzi secretary of finance position. We regret the inconvenience caused.)