President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party has admitted that it rigged elections for aspiring central committee members ahead of the December congress in order to get rid of all those aligned to former vice president Joice Mujuru.
Addressing journalists here at a Christmas party, the acting provincial chairman, Paradza Chakona, said they had to deliberately delete the names of people aligned to the Mujuru faction even after they had won elections to be in the central committee.
He applauded the state media, which he said played a big role to ensure that winners from the Mujuru faction were side-lined – despite having won the majority of votes.
“We had people like provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who had won the elections in Mwenezi. But when the names were forwarded to Harare we had to deliberately delete his name,” said Chakona.
“I had to run around looking for you journalists so that you could announce the names of those who had made it into the central committee minus Bhasikiti’s name.
“To be honest, Bhasikiti is one of those who had won elections to be in the central committee but he was just a bad apple and we deleted his name,”Chakona said.
Sources within the ruling party said several stalwarts including former Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire had won the elections into the central committee, but their names were removed because of their loyalty to Mujuru.
“We just rigged and sometimes stage-managed elections for the central committee – this is known to everyone in the party,” a highly placed Zanu (PF) source told The Zimbabwean.
“The idea was just to eliminate all Mujuru loyalists despite the support they enjoyed from the electorate,” he added.
Political analysts have said that the revelation that the party rigged its own elections exposes its tendencies toward electoral fraud. “If the party can rig its own elections what about elections involving other political parties,” said one analyst who requested anonymity.
“This means that Zanu (PF) has rigged previous polls and there are fears that it will continue doing that,” he said.
Faction fighting marred the ruling party’s elections of central committee members ahead of the congress, which was supposed to be an elective one. It ended up being an endorsement congress after a constitutional amendment gave President Robert Mugabe powers to handpick politburo and central committee members.
He promoted Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to the post of first vice president, with former diplomat Mpekezela Mpoko as his deputy.
Source: The Zimbabwean