Mnangagwa allies, ministers lose primary elections
- Seven Zimbabwean government ministers and several allies of President Emmerson Mnangagwa were defeated in primary elections for Parliament, results showed on Thursday, as disputes threaten to divide the party ahead of polls set for July.
The internal ZANU-PF poll was a major test of the party's capacity to organise following last November's resignation of the long-ruling 94-year-old Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from power when his top army generals turned against him in a de facto coup.
Voting in the primaries, which took place on Sunday, was extended to Tuesday in some constituencies due to disagreements over who should vote, late ballot deliveries and accusations of bribery and cheating by some candidates. Oppah Muchinguri, who holds the fourth most senior post of national chairperson in Zanu PF, was defeated by a little-known rival in the race to represent the party in eastern Manicaland province. Chris Mutsvangwa, an outspoken war veterans leader and a Mnangagwa special adviser, lost to a relatively unknown figure in the party. In a letter to the Zanu PF national commissar seen by Reuters, Mutsvangwa rejected the result and said he would challenge it.
HARARE HARARE - Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa risks losing the support of war veterans and could lose elections scheduled for later this year, a top adviser says.
War veteran and Special Adviser to the president, Christopher Mutsvangwa was speaking after he and several other officials, including Cabinet ministers, lost the right to represent ZanuPF in parliamentary polls due in July.
"It is inconceivable that the president will win given that the party's members have been largely disenfranchised," Mutsvangwa said, in comments carried by the private NewsDay.
Mutsvangwa was hoping to represent Zanu-PF in the town of Norton, west of Harare. He lost to Langton Mutendereki, a newcomer. War veterans' spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya is also reported to be struggling to retain his right to stand in Harare South. Mutsvangwa said many people were annoyed.
"They are fully aware of the width and breadth of the anger and disapproval of the rank and file party membership on the conduct of the primary elections," he said.
The internal Zanu-PF elections held over several days this week were marred by some chaotic scenes, mainly due to the late delivery of ballot papers and the absence of some candidates' names on the voting papers. There were also allegations of vote-rigging and intimidation in some areas.
But commentators here have praised the fact that members of the Zanu-PF old guard fell to political newcomers, saying this is a sign of democracy at work within the party.
In a statement released earlier this week Mnangagwa said despite "teething problems" experienced during the polls, he was "convinced that the democratic course we have started in the management of our party affairs is the correct one".