ZANU PF primary elections were marred by chaos Sunday amid reports of alleged violence in some parts of the province, with voting pushed over to Monday.
The internal polls are being held to choose the ruling party’s candidates for parliamentary, senatorial and local government seats.
By 7am on Sunday, when polls were earmarked to start, party members were seen milling around waiting to cast their ballot.
However, there were no polling officers in sight to start the process.
By midday voting had still not started across the province home to Zanu PF President Emmerson Mnangagwa hails from and reportedly enjoys massive support.
News only filtered late in the day that there were challenges with the transporting of ballot papers from the provincial command centre in Gweru to various voting centres in the province.
Polling officers were only deployed well after midday with just a few centres managing to kickstart the voting process.
Party provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mpereri confirmed that they had serious challenges in managing the first party’s polls after the dislodging of long time party and national leader President Robert Mugabe.
Due to the late start, the voting process was extended to Monday to allow the bulk of the party members to cast their ballot.
“We arrived at a general consensus that since voting material arrived late voting stations will close tonight (Sunday) by around 7pm and will reopen on Monday morning to resume the voting process,” said Mpereri.
Similar reports were received from other parts of the country suggesting that the ruling party had not properly planned for the polls which will be a huge litmus test for them as they gear up for the national elections slated for July this year.
LUPANE: Scores of Zanu PF supporters in Matabeleland North province were on Sunday left disgruntled after spending the whole day queuing in anticipation of casting of voting but failed to do so as the party could not produce ballot papers.
Matabeleland North has seven districts but only Umguza managed to go ahead with the polls while voting will be done Monday in the other six – namely Binga, Bubi, Hwange, Lupane, Nkayi and Tsholotsho.
The elections were married by notable confusion as the party failed to produce ballot papers for the local authorities’ category in time while teams also faced transport challenges to various districts.
Organisers failed to produce ballot papers for council elections which resulted in the vote being postponed to Monday.
By 5pm the party was still struggling with the process as there were still no ballot papers for local authorities.
A source with Zanu PF in Matabeleland North said the party erred by bringing forward the elections from May 5 to April 29 considering that preparations were still not yet finalised.
“I think we rushed this process before even checking our readiness,” he said
“Firstly, there was no enough fuel and secondly there were no ballots. Prospective party voters who are drawn from the party’s cell structures were very patient as they spent the whole day waiting in anticipation of casting their vote.”
Party members who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com were disappointed with the chaos.
“We have been sitting here all day but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of any election officers. What amazes us is that there has been no communication from the party’s election officers and we don’t even know what to do,” said one Isaac Nyoni from Lupane.
Nadi Mudimba from Binga said: “We were told that we will now vote tomorrow but what’s disheartening is that they only made this announcement later after a majority of people had already made arrangements.
Provincial elections officer Henry Muchena could not be comment as his number was picked by a person who said he was busy.
MARONDERA: Zanu PF primary elections for Marondera Central failed to kick off on Sunday amid concerns over violence and manipulation of the voters’ roll.
The elections are now expected to be held on Monday
However, according to party sources, complains were raised by some of the aspiring local council and parliamentary candidates over manipulation of the voters’ roll, vote buying and intimidation.
“There are some disagreements over the voting process with some candidates complaining that some of their rivals were being favoured in terms of the allocation of resources during the campaign period,” said a party source.
He claimed that some candidates were allocated fuel by the party for their campaigns, while their rivals were excluded.
Candidates also wanted the senior party leadership to address concerns raised after some supporters were assaulted or harassed by rival candidates.
By Sunday evening, scores of Zanu PF supporters were still milling outside polling stations after spending the whole day waiting to cast their votes.
Elections to choose a candidate to represent Zanu PF in the parliamentary elections for Marondera Central pit the incumbent Lawrence Katsiru, Cleopas Kundishora and Lucas Chimoka.
On Saturday, the three candidates were supposed to hold a joint rally in the town, but it was cancelled due to disagreements.
Katsiru and Sydney Sekeramayi held a joint rally while the other two candidates also had their separate gatherings.
Sekeramayi, a former defence minister, is contesting to be the senator for Wedza\Marondera.
According to new Zanu PF regulations, aspiring candidates were supposed to hold joint rallies to show unity in the party.
Last week, all aspiring local council and parliamentary candidates were summoned to Zanu PF national headquarters by the national commissar, Engelbert Rugeje, for a briefing, following complaints of violence and intimidation among rival candidates and their supporters.