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President Emmerson Mnangagwa greets supporters of his ruling ZANU PF party gather for an election rally in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo - RC1A80283490

Politics

Gloves off in Zanu PF polls

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GLOVES are off in Zanu PF as the party holds District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections countrywide this weekend which are seen as a test of strength between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ambitious deputy Constantino Chiwenga, who are leading the two most powerful factions in the ruling party.

MOSES NGWERE

Zanu PF is re-introducing the DCCs eight years after they were disbanded after being deemed to have been the seedbed for factionalism. At the time the Mnangagwa faction was battling a faction led by former vice -president Joice Mujuru to succeed the late former president Robert Mugabe. Tomorrow’s elections, to be held in all provinces except Harare and Bulawayo which had their own hotly contested and violent DCC elections last year, mark the climax following months of intense bickering in the party. Zanu PF sources revealed this week factional fights have worsened over the past week as bigwigs square off through proxies.
“The situation is volatile all over the country but there are provinces like Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Mashonaland East where the political temperature has really risen to boiling point,” a Zanu PF central committee member from Mashonaland East province said. The party official said what has worsened the situation was the politburo’s decision to let the provinces conduct their own elections.
“That has been the source of all sorts of problems. There is a real possibility of rigging and other forms of irregularities synonymous with these elections,” another senior Zanu PF official said.
“That decision now appears to be not the wisest looking at it in retrospect because nasty factional fights are happening out there. Some are being disqualified purely on factional basis while others are just being elbowed for personal vendetta. Violent clashes cannot be ruled out,” the official said.
However, Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa claimed yesterday the party had employed all mechanisms to prevent rigging and expects the process to be smooth.
“We are confident that there will be a successful hosting of elections across the eight provinces. The supervising committees, including commissioners and politburo members, have already been deployed,” Chinamasa said.
“We have got a total of 1 248 polling stations in these eight provinces but you will realise that by end of day tomorrow, we may have more of them in some provinces because we have looked at some geographical considerations. In Manicaland, for instance, we will be adding 27 more satellite polling stations to bring them to 287. This is being done in full consultation with polling commissioners,” he said.
He added that the party had put in place systems to curb rigging.
“We are going to be using registers from the districts which were constituted in 2017, updated of course through co-options subsequent to that in order to entrench internal democracy. Any fears of rigging have been allayed. The provinces themselves will of course conduct their own elections, but they will do so under the supervision of assigned politburo members. Central committee members have also been asked to monitor proceedings in other districts than where they come from to avoid interference and minimise fraud”
“The polling itself will take place one day on Saturday. Collation of results will be done on Sunday and the results will be transmitted to the national command centre at the national headquarters in Harare for official announcement on Monday,” Chinamasa said.

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