HomePoliticsTraditional leaders win Zanu PF Gutu North

Traditional leaders win Zanu PF Gutu North

Augustine Mukaro, recently in Gutu.

ZANU PF mobilised traditional chiefs and headmen to boost its blandishments in this week’s by-election in Gutu North.

Helvetica, sans-serif”>During the first-ever midweek poll to be held in the country, traditional leaders played an active role in Zanu PF retaining the Gutu North constituency.

The ruling party won the February 2/3 by-election by 20 699 votes to 7 291 for the Movement for Democratic Change.

The result means that Zanu PF’s Retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai will fill the seat left vacant in September by the death of Simon Muzenda. The MDC’s Caspa Musoni accepted the results but said there were anomalies in the run-up to the election.

A total of 28 803 votes were cast, representing 48% of the 59 000 registered voters.

Observations by the Zimbabwe Independent during the election showed that the ruling party effectively used local structures such as Vidcos and headmen.

At some polling stations police had to be called in to stop headmen and chiefs from either recording the names of voters from their areas or arranging voters to line up according to their villages.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network observers expressed concern over role of village headmen in the election.

“Worrying is the role of village heads in the election,” ZESN said.

“At Gutu mission police had to stop four headmen from recording the names of voters while at Matizha Primary School, the presiding officer had to stop Chief Serima from organising the electorate in queues by their villages.”

While traditional leaders were mandated with the duty of ensuring that Zanu PF won the election in the communal lands, ward chairmen had to do the same in the newly resettled areas.

“Before the election days, each chairman was asked to circulate a form to the electorate demanding their names and political affiliation. The forms were later submitted to the ruling party. Over and above that, the chairman had to bring his people to the polling station on the poll days,” one resettled farmer said.

“It was a foregone conclusion that Tungamirai would win the election because Zanu PF’s machinery had effectively penetrated all structures so the electorate felt vulnerable and insecure, even in the ballot box,” the farmer said.

The Independent also observed that each Ward in the constituency was given a specific day to go and cast their votes so that Zanu PF could maintain its supervision of the way its supporters voted.

Gutu North is made up of 12 wards. Wards 1-6 voted on Monday, observers noted, while 7-12 voted on Tuesday.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading