SHADOWY Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)-linked Zanu PF group Forever Associates of Zimbabwe (Faz), which took over the running of elections from the military in order to boost the prospects of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF, has played a major role in destabilisng the opposition at the just-ended candidate nomination exercise for the 23 August crunch polls.
At Wednesday’s sitting of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s nomination court, Faz took a central role in destabilising the opposition CCC.
The shadowy group planted double and sometimes triple parallel candidates to those genuinely put forward by the Nelson Chamisa-led party, in a well-orchestrated ploy to split the opposition vote.
The chicanery involved sponsoring the candidates to submit nomination papers to Zec without the approval of CCC and also forging the signatures and logo of the party.
The trend was rampant in Harare’s peri-urban constituencies where Zanu PF is anxious to outfox the opposition. Kudakwashe Chatambudza was the only candidate on the official CCC shortlist for Epworth South, but two names, Solomon Baramasimbe and Dydmus Bande, emerged on a Zec list, making a total of three CCC candidates vying for that constituency and the mess was engineered by Faz.
In Harare East, where Allan “Rusty” Markham and Tendai Biti made it to the final CCC shortlist and Markham emerged as the preferred candidate but, shockingly, a strange individual Malvin Razaru, appeared on the Zec list as a CCC candidate.
Joana Mamombe is the CCC candidate for Harare West, but Faz pushed through Farai Michael Padzarondora to appear alongside her as a CCC candidate. In St Mary’s (Chitungwiza), Freddy Michael Masarirevhu of the CCC was listed without his knowledge as another candidate after the party’s official candidate, Brighton Mazhindu. Faz forged signatures as well as the party logo and proceeded to pay nomination fees for him.
Harare South, a peri-urban area represented by Mnangagwa’s relevative Tongai Mnangagwa on a Zanu PF ticket, ended up having three candidates for the CCC: George Magweta, Dorothy Musonza and Trouble Hasha after Faz interference. While Agency Gumbo is the official candidate for the CCC in Hatcliffe, Faz added one more, Lloyd Sande, in a bid to split the opposition and harvest votes for Zanu PF.
Faz spread its operation to Hunyani constituency where Lovemore Chinoputsa, the official CCC candidate, appears on the Zec list with another individual, Terrence Khumbula, using the opposition party name.
In Hatfield CCC’s Revai Nyamuronda again appeared on the ZEC final list with another candidate pushed by FAZ to contest using the same party name, Admire Griza. In Bulawayo, three constituencies have two CCC double candidates — Phelandaba Tshabalala, Entumbane Njube and Pumula In Bulawayo, CCC candidates Donald Mabutho and Bekithemba Nyathi both filed papers to contest in ward 9.
In Masvingo Urban ward 4, Alec Tabe and Thokozile Muchuchuti both filed nomination papers on the CCC ticket. Political analyst Vivid Gwede told The NewsHawks that it is likely that Faz will continue with its shadowy role of using opaque means to push for Zanu PF’s victory — by hook or by crook — right up to election day.
He urged CCC to match the shadowy group pound for pound. “The role of this entity will remain of serious concern, with the opposition thinking that it is prejudicial to its interests. The opposition will need to remain vigilant on every step insisting on the independence and transparency of the electoral commission, Zec.
“The opposition should make their preferred candidates known in the specific areas through a strong campaign,” he said.
CCC deputy spokesman Gift Ostalos Siziba said: “It’s clear that there is a pattern of misinformation and fraud, carefully designed to paint a picture of confusion in CCC by those fearing elections.
“Zanu PF and its agents are desperate and creating shadowy individuals to dampen the citizens’ conviction for change. All these desperate attempts will not derail the course of change and our legal teams across the country are working to fix this malfeasance manufactured by Faz (Forever Associate Zimbabwe) and distributed by Zec.”
The Fez group led by CIO deputy direc tor-general Walter Tapfumaneyi first took an active role in Zanu PF when it conducted the party’s internal primary elections which dislodged several top officials in March this year.
Notable officials who fell by the wayside in the controversial polls include Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, also President Mnangagwa’s chief election agent, who lost to little-known Mercy Dinha in Zvimba West constituency; Zanu PF chairperson for Manicaland province Mike Madiro who was defeated by Admire Mahachi in the race to represent the party in Mutare North constituency; and Parliament’s agriculture portfolio committee chairperson Justice Mayor Wadyajena who was humbled by former cabinet minister Flora Bhuka.
Industry and Commerce minister Sekai Nzenza was defeated by Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Felix Mhona in Chikomba East while Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister, Jenfan Muswere lost in Makoni West with Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Kindness Paradza again losing in Makonde during the primaries.
There was also former opposition MDC-Alliance top official Tongai Matutu, who was allowed to stand in the Zanu PF primaries but lost to Sheila Chikomo in Mwenezi East, while Elias Musakwa was beaten by Natiso Makusha in Bikita West constituency.
The Faz-run elections in Bikita South saw former deputy Information minister Energy Mutodi winning controversially against Ignatius Mateveke, who contested in Marondera Central in the previous primary elections in 2018.