Mnan­gagwa al­lies, min­is­ters lose pri­mary elec­tions

Observer on Saturday - - News - News24

- 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".

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