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Primaries stir Zanu PF row

Conrad Dube/Augustine Mukaro

DIVISIONS continue to rock the ruling Zanu PF over candidates for next year’s parliamentary election with top officials being accused of organising fake primary elections to push

their right hand men as candidates.

In Mashonaland West, provincial chairman Philip Chiyangwa and deputy parliamentary speaker Edna Madzongwe, have been accused of conducting primary elections in Mhondoro to advance Chiyangwa’s deputy John Mafa as the candidate.

Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent written to the party’s national commissar, Elliot Manyika, say Chiyangwa and Madzongwe issued written instructions to Mafa to carry out primary elections in which he (Mafa) was also a candidate.

The document was written by Zanu PF national secretary for legal affairs and women’s rights in the Women’s League Mavis Chidzonga and national fundraising committee member, Chamu Charles Mutyambizi.

Documents show that Mafa polled 44 votes against Chidzonga’s seven while Mutyambizi managed a single vote at Mubaira Growth Point in April.

But Chidzonga and Mutyambizi have demanded nullification of the primaries, citing irregularities in the procedure and conduct of the elections.

“Please kindly intervene in this matter so that a proper primary election is conducted, district by district so that the party members are not denied their right to choose who they want to represent them,” Chidzonga and Mutyambizi wrote.

President Mugabe has said Zanu PF candidates for the 2005 general election will be selected through primary elections.

Contacted for comment, Chiyangwa referred all questions to Robert Sikanyika, national deputy secretary for lands and resettlement in the youth wing whom he said was in charge of the elections.

Sikanyika said: “There was no proper primary election in the Mhondoro constituency but Mafa was chosen by consensus where the good organiser of the day, who has strong roots among the people, wins.”

He said the provincial executive committee and the provincial coordinating committee duly endorsed Mafa as the ruling party candidate. Sikanyika said all prospective candidates were given seven days’ notice to prepare for the contest but lost due to complacency.

In Murehwa North a fierce battle appears inevitable where Health minister David Parirenyatwa is understood to be squaring up against Victor Chitongo. In primaries leading to the 2000 parliamentary election, Parirenyatwa lost to Chitongo.

In Masvingo South businessman Walter Mzembi confirmed this week that he would be contesting the seat. Eddison Zvobgo currently holds it. Retired major Kudzai Mbudzi has indicated that he wants to wrestle Masvingo North from the sitting MP and Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge.

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