By Partinella Ngozo
The Zanu-PF primary elections which were slated for Sunday 4 October 2020 were placed on halt after violence erupted at most polling stations in Kwekwe.
The Zanu-PF district offices witnessed a series of violent scenes with the Zimbabwe Republic Police riot squad together with the army chipping in to disperse supporters who were demonstrating against the voter’s roll issue. A lot of injuries were encountered as the supporters were vacating from the scene in a bid to avoid tear gases.
“Maihwe! Maihwe kani gumbo rangu! Gumbo rangu kani! Ndibetseriwo kani, maihwe! (I need help with my leg. I am hurt please help me people!)”, a female youth could be heard crying for help after violence erupted at Zanu-PF offices. The woman was hurt while she was trying to evade from the offices with the riot police throwing tear gases to disperse everyone.
“Chest yangu haichagoni…handichakwanisi kufema zvakanaka! (I can’t breathe properly!) Please help me! I need an inhaler!” cried an asthmatic man who was affected by the tear gases which had been thrown at them by the riot squad. The Zanu-PF supporters clashed with the riot police at the party’s district offices following demonstrations against corruption allegations, levelled against the election presiding team which was being led by Rtd Col Dr Kahuni.
The police with the assistance of Zimbabwe army were seen beating party supporters at the party office resulting in some getting injured.
In Msasa Park reports are that, some supporters were beaten by police after they had refused to allow a voter’s roll which was presented from ‘nowhere’.
Risper Media through its Community Voices Zimbabwe project held a Digital Security Training with civil society members in Midlands Province, in the city of Gweru. The main lead facilitator Jasper Maposa is a digital security trainer who has been trained locally and globally but a number of organisations. The training brought together women’s organisations, members of the media, members under the National Association for Non-Governmental Organisations, residents associations among others.
“Vatanga kurova vanhu nekuti tanga tichiramba kuti vatendere vanhu vanga vari mune rimwe zibhuku rangonyuka from nowhere kuti ngavavhote (We protested against the use of an old voter’s roll by the police, that’s when they started assaulting us). Only three people who were registered in the party cell voter’s roll are the ones who should only be allowed to vote. We don’t know where this other officer got a large book with lots of people, he wanted them to vote. That’s is pure rigging. So we protested against the use of that book that’s when the police started to assault people,” said a dejected voter who had run away but was stealthily trying to get back to the polling station.
Furthermore, voters were dispersed for safety after Machete wielding youths allegedly caused intimidating at Fitchlea Primary School. Reports reaching this publication are that the machete gang popularly known as the ‘Al Shabab’, violently forced most polling stations to close after they dismissed voters.
Kwekwe Central Constituency structures were rejecting the use of the 2018 Zimbabwe Election Commission’s (ZEC) voters roll in Sunday’s primary elections. This comes after many supporters were accusing National Zanu-PF Commissar, Victor Matemadanda and the election presiding team of corruption after he had ordered the use of 2018 elections voters roll which the supporters feared favored Kandros Mugabe.
The violence led to the postponement of the primary elections, with Zanu-PF provincial chairperson, Daniel Mckenzie Ncube confirming that the party was forced to abandon the process due to a number of challenges.
“I can confirm that we have called off the Kwekwe primary election until further notice. The election faced a lot of challenges and one of them was the use of 2018 elections voters roll. It came to our attention that a lot of party members who voted in 2018, were found not to be on the same voters roll. The same was with party cell registers and this forced us to cancel the election”, said Ncube.
The Kwekwe Central Constituency was left vacant following the death of National Patriotic Front (NPF) party MP, Masango ‘Blackman’ Matambanadzo who died during this year’s covid-19 lockdown in after battling for his health for a long period in ca case of suspected food poisoning.
Meanwhile, Mugabe who was defeated by Blackman in the 2018 elections eyes the vacancy but now faces stiff competition from Energy Ncube, a relative of the Minister of State for Security Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube.