Zanu PF provincial elections went on well yesterday despite starting late in some areas owing to late delivery of election materials and bad weather.
In most areas, polling continued smoothly and without incidence up to closing time at 5pm. The polling took place at multiple centres in each district to allow all party members eligible to vote to do so close to home.
In some areas of Masvingo and Midlands, voting will be conducted today, after polling officers failed to access the places on time with incessant rains causing delays.
The elections are meant to choose the party’s new Provincial Coordinating Committees (PCC) with the previous ones dissolved last week.
Most people were ready at their polling stations as early as 7am, the official starting time, and were not deterred by any late delivery of election material.
Zanu PF national political commissar, Cde Mike Bimha, last night said voting went well.
“The provincial elections started this morning commencing at different times in the various areas depending on a variety of factors. These include distance from command centres, the terrain and as well as weather. There has been, as expected, a few hitches here and there with most being attended to timeously.
“The polls have now been closed with counting taking place. Once results have been confirmed at the centre, they will be signed off by the district chairperson as well as the presiding officers and then submitted to the District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) centres who will in turn collate the same and submit these to their provinces,” he said.
The provinces would collate all the results in their jurisdiction and submit to the National Command Centre at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
Cde Bimha said election results were expected to start trickling in by midnight.
There were areas in Masvingo and Midlands province that experienced incessant rains therefore making it impossible for people conducting elections to get there in good time.
“We have decided to give them an opportunity to do so early morning. So those centres that have been affected by rains will be voting tomorrow (today) so that we give people an opportunity for them to exercise their democratic right to choose their leaders,” he said.
Voting in most areas started mid-morning while in other places polling started just after lunch hour.
In Harare, voting was yet to start at Marlborough Civic Centre by mid-morning while polling had started at Dzivaresekwa 2 shopping centre and at Dzapasi district in Kuwadzana 6.
A member of the youth league, Cde Simbarashe Rukuni from Marlborough district said they had come as early as 7am to cast their vote.
Dzivaresekwa district chairman, Cde Onismo Adrien, said voting started at 1pm and had gone on well.
In Harare province, acting provincial chairperson Cde Goodwills Masimirembwa is seeking the top provincial post in the main wing election against former youth leader Cde Godfrey Gomwe.
Zanu PF Politburo members have been deployed to all the provinces to supervise the elections.
In Mashonaland Central, everything progressed well with voting starting at around 8.30am.
Ballot boxes and papers were sent to all eight districts with minor challenges and hiccups attended to.
Candidates for the chairmanship of the party’s main wing are Cde Kazembe Kazembe and Cde Tafadzwa Musarara. Candidates for women affairs are Cde Tsitsi Gezi and Mrs Patience Tapomha. All the four are from Mazowe district.
There are five candidates for the youth wing: Cde Saunyama Dzimbiti, Cde Tawanda Gezi, Cde Blessing Murendo, Cde Emerson Raradza and Cde Pijiwest Nhamburo.
In Masvingo, voting opened yesterday without any incidences of violence or altercation though the beginning of actual voting in some areas was delayed by logistical hitches and vagaries of the weather.
The main contest in Masvingo is for the post of party provincial chairperson pitting the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Cde Ezra Chadzamira, who is also the immediate past chair, against his former vice-chair Cde Robson Mavhenyengwa, the legislator for Zaka North.
Voting was delayed in parts of Mwenezi and Chiredzi due to collapsed bridges and flooded rivers though the team supervising elections in Masvingo led by politburo member Cde Fredrick Shava and Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said everything was being done to ensure the vote would take place.
Addressing the press on progress, Cde Shava said polling had been peaceful with no incidents of violence having been reported. Some districts had central committee members from Matebeleland North deployed.
“Except for a few logistical hitches and vagaries of the weather, the process has gone on well and by noon we had managed to deploy teams supervising the voting process at all the polling stations,” said Cde Shava.
In Mashonaland West, party elections started well in most parts of the six administration districts except for a few areas that could not be reached in time because of distance and impassable roads.
At least 80 percent of the district managed to vote yesterday with election leaders hoping to have the remaining districts vote by 12 noon today.
Zanu PF’s Secretary for Security Cde Lovemore Matuke who is the team leader said: “We had a few challenges with deployment particularly to areas that are far but we hope to have the elections completed by 12 noon tomorrow as we don’t want the electorate to vote at night.”
Some rural and remote parts of Kariba, Hurungwe, Sanyati and Makonde districts received ballot papers and officers after 5pm with the situation having been exacerbated by the rains.
He said his department was going to deal with some rogue party elements that caused disruptions in Chegutu and Kadoma.
“There were some parallel structures and leaders who influenced skirmishes but we will deal with that through disciplinary action,” he said.
In Mashonaland East, elections team leader Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi said he was pleased with the voting and the level of maturity exhibited by party cadres across the province.
“In the morning I started by visiting Goromonzi administration district and everything was going on well and when I got there the district was already voting. I am happy that people were voting peacefully in Zanu PF internal elections and we are hoping that they are now winding up the voting process and counting will start,” said Cde Ziyambi.
“I was very pleased with what I saw today. The maturity exhibited by our party cadres showed me that we have matured as a party.”
In Matabeleland South, four candidates including the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu, acting provincial chairman Cde Never Khanye, and two war veterans, Matthias Siqhosa and Jabulani Bango squared up for the provincial main wing chairmanship.
Cde Gladys Tlou from Beitbridge, Cde Rona Moyo (former Chair Women’s League), Cde Sindisiwe Nleya from Plumtree, and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu contested the provincial Women’ League Chair post, while Langton Maphosa and Nkosilomusa Langa stood for the Youth League.
Although voting started late in most areas, the electoral process was generally peaceful, with scores of party members braving the scorching heat in Beitbridge where the temperature soared to 39 degrees Celsius.
In Matabeleland North most polling stations opened at 7am as scheduled, although slight delays were recorded in Binga because of logistical challenges.
Party members at Mahlothova Primary School in Umguza District expressed satisfaction with the way the elections were being conducted.
One voter, Cde Rebecca Moyo, said they were participating in the internal polls as they were a deciding factor ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
“We are voting to choose leaders who will be able to steer the party ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections. The leadership we are choosing today should drive the Zanu PF agenda so that we can have a sweeping victory in coming elections,” she said.
“We are also freely exercising our democratic right. No one coerced us to vote for any candidate. Candidates were able to campaign peacefully.”
Another party member Cde Aaron Mutema who was voting at the same polling station said the atmosphere was conducive for free and fair elections.
“I believe the elections are very free and fair. We have been able to cast our votes secretly. May the best candidates win,” said Cde Moyo.
Zanu PF Secretary for War Veterans in the politburo Cde Douglas Mahiya commended Matabeleland North province for conducting the elections in a peaceful manner.
Cde Mahiya visited several polling stations in Lupane district and expressed satisfaction over how party members conducted themselves.
“I have to mention the peaceful atmosphere in Matabeleland North, I think it has aided us to conduct the election without incidents. The public needs to know that we have done it again. The elections have demonstrated who we are,” said Cde Mahiya.
“Binga started late but all the same they managed to cast their votes. The smoothness of the polls shows that we are 41 years into independence and the 16 years we spent in the struggle mean we have come of age.”
Counting of the votes was expected to start last evening with the winners expected to be declared today.
“We are not going to be announcing any results at provincial level. We are just collecting the results which are going to be announced by the National Command in Harare. But a copy of the results will be left at the district centre so that people can appreciate the outcome of the election at that level,” he said.
Cde Mahiya called for unity among those who participated in the polls.
In Bulawayo, the process went well with the voting running from 11am until 6pm. At some of the metropolitan province’s 61 polling stations there were slight delays in the distribution of ballots papers.
Voters in areas such Davis Hall, Mabutweni, Magwegwe North Terminus, Emakhandeni Hall and Pelandaba cast their votes without incident.
However, at other stations such as Iminyela, Old Lobengula, Mpopoma and Njube, voters could be seen patiently waiting for the arrival of ballot papers.
Politburo member Cde Kenneth Musanhi was overseeing the electoral process in Bulawayo and was being assisted by Brigadier General (Rtd) Walter Kanhanga who is also a Politburo member and four Central Committee members from Masvingo province.
Former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda, former Mpopoma-Pelandaba MP Cde Joseph Tshuma, Bulawayo war veterans’ chairman Cde Cephas Ncube and the former interim provincial party chairperson Cde Obert Msindo are among those eyeing the top post in the province.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Cde Raj Modi are seeking to get into the provincial structure in Bulawayo province.
Others are Cde Douglas Mpofu and Cde Mlungisi Moyo. Cde Rebecca Manjere, Cde Zeria Ngozo and Cde Joyce Sibanda contested for the Women’s League top post.
Those vying for the top post under the youths wing are Cde Freedom Murechu, Cde Bhekinkosi Dube and Cde Mayibongwe Zvigadza. A total of 70 candidates in Bulawayo are contesting in the polls for the full spread of provincial posts.
Brig Gen (Rtd) Kanhanga said the process was going on well.
“We are moving around polling stations and everything is going on well. We are looking forward to successful polls,” he said.