5 February 2008

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Polls Produce Shocks

Harare — THERE are shocks in the Zanu-PF primary elections results which began trickling in yesterday with indications that some ministers, party heavyweights and sitting MPs lost to newcomers.

Party national commissar Cde Elliot Manyika confirmed that minnows upstaged some heavyweights, promising to release the full results today.

"There are indications that there will be shocks in some areas. Some provinces are through with the primary elections while others are still to complete the exercise," said Cde Manyika.

"We will be announcing election results starting from tomorrow. We will be making them public because we have nothing to hide. We want it to be clear to everyone that democracy thrives in our party."

Preliminary results showed Zanu-PF heavyweights -- among them Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, sitting MPs and senators -- lost in the primaries conducted at the weekend.

Some party supporters, including traditional leaders, from different provinces converged at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday to register their displeasure over the selection of candidates in some constituencies.

Traditional leaders from Hurungwe in Mashonaland West Province were among those at the headquarters.

Businessman and farmer Cde Temba Mliswa, Cde Luke Chirasasa and Cde Alexander Nyaria are eyeing the Hurungwe West House of Assembly seat.

The supporters, who included Chief Matawu, were unhappy with the inclusion of Cde Stella Boni in the race.

Cde Boni was allegedly roped in as the provincial leadership argued that it sought to meet its quota for women candidates.

Elections in the constituency have since been stalled as the party supporters met secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa.

In Harare Province, Mvurachena Senate constituency sitting senator Cde Vivian Mwashita lost to Cde Miriam Chikukwa while in Hwata Senate constituency, Cde Charles Tawengwa beat Cde Sabina Thembani.

Hwata Senate seat covers Highfield, Glen Norah, Glen View, Kuwadzana, Dzivaresekwa and Mufakose.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees' Association Cde Victor Kuretu beat his rival Cde Jabulani Thembani to win the ticket to represent Zanu-PF in the Mufakose House of Assembly constituency.

Cde Jabulani Thembani congratulated Cde Kuretu and pledged to work with the winner in campaigns for the March 29 elections, saying he lost in a free and fair manner.

"I am very excited. The process was very free and fair. It was also very transparent. No one can complain. And I am more than ready to face the opposition candidates," said Cde Kuretu.

Cde Ellen "Mai Cresta" Samuriwo -- who runs a popular food outlet in Mbare -- won the Ward 34 primary and will represent Zanu-PF in the council elections after beating Cde Mangota.

In Masvingo Province, Cde Anna Rungano lost to Cde Cecilia Chabaya in the Bikita Senate primary.

In the Bikita South House of Assembly constituency, musician and banker Cde Elias Musakwa beat sitting MP Cde Claudious Makova while in Bikita East the incumbent Cde Kennedy Matimba lost to former MP Cde Walter Mutsauri.

Cde Wilson Makonya was unopposed in Bikita South.

Elsewhere, reports said in Mashonaland East three ministers lost in the primaries.

Meanwhile, inspection of the voters' roll has been delayed in some parts of Mashonaland Central because inspection centres were inaccessible due to impassable roads and bridges damaged by rains.

However, in Harare and other urban centres inspection was progressing smoothly.

Roads and bridges in Muzarabani, Guruve and Mt Darwin districts have been damaged by flash floods.

Mashonaland Central provincial registrar Mr Augustine Tsuro said some officers failed to get to their designated centres.

He, however, said the situation was now under control after the Registrar-General's Office arranged for a helicopter to airlift the officers to the inspection centres.

"Some villages such as Mutasa area, Kapfunda and areas surrounding the Dande area in Mt Darwin had been badly affected by the floods and we were forced to send a helicopter to drop our officers at (inspection) points," he said

By Sunday, Mr Tsuro said, the helicopter had dropped all the officers at their respective centres.

He said the province was yet to receive feedback on progress in such areas but in others inspection was going on without hitches.

"We urge people to go to their respective wards and check their names. This time the voters' roll is based on wards unlike in previous elections where we had a constituency-based roll," he said.

Mr Tsuro said the constituency-based roll allowed people to check their names from any point in the constituency unlike the ward-based roll.

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