Mavima, Mutsvangwa file electoral petitions

MIDLANDS and Manicaland provincial elections losing candidates Larry Mavima and Monica Mutsvangwa this week filed letters of appeal seeking the nullification of poll results.

Herbert Moyo/Elias Mambo

Mavima, a former Zvishavane-Runde legislator, and Manicaland senator Mutsvangwa, who are said to be aligned to a faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, lost to Jason Machaya and John Mvundura who are reportedly in the rival camp led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

The two factions are battling to control provincial executives, crucial in the fight to succeed President Robert Mugabe because the structures will play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium at the December 2014 elective congress.

Mavima confirmed on Wednesday he had written to the party’s national political commissar Webster Shamu to register his grievances over the conduct and outcome of the polls.

“I was leading in the elections with an 800-vote margin,” Mavima said, “that is how it was with returns from all the districts only to be told Machaya had surpassed me in Shurugwi North which was the last district to come in. I have filed a petition because the results are contaminated and they do not reflect the position on the ground.”

Although he would not divulge the contents of his petition, sources say Mavima is demanding that the re-run be supervised by a new team.

“His election petition cites irregularities in the supervision of the elections which were conducted by personnel not involved in the process including war veterans and chiefs,” said a party source.

The elections have opened a can of worms with claims of rigging, something Zanu PF has frequently refuted in the past when it comes to national elections.

Sources in Midlands claim the election was rigged in favour of Machaya, who allegedly bussed voters from one district to another using a shambolic voters’ roll dating back to 2005.

Machaya was not reachable on his mobile phone for comment.

In Manicaland, Mutsvangwa also filed her petition after citing a number of irregularities including a shambolic voters’ roll and intimidation of her supporters.

Efforts to obtain her comment were unsuccessful as she was also unreachable on her mobile phone.

However, Mutsvangwa has already stated her desire for a re-run saying it is “important because we want our electoral processes to have integrity”.

But party sources downplayed the chances of the two succeeding in their appeals considering the presidium is currently tilted in favour of Vice-President Mujuru.

“Apart from the fact that Mnangagwa himself came out saying that the Manicaland polls were credible, it is difficult to see how a Zanu PF presidium which has the likes of Mujuru herself, Simon Khaya Moyo (national chairperson) and Didymus Mutasa (secretary for administration) will allow the results to be overturned,” said one source.

It is believed that Mujuru prevailed on Mugabe to postpone elections in eight other provinces citing allegations of vote-buying by the rival Mnangagwa faction. Up to now no date has been set for the holding of the elections with Mutasa saying last week he is still to meet Shamu on the matter.