THE Zanu PF provincial elections held in the seven provinces last week were practically run by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) with the help of some intelligence operatives, a development which has become a major source of conflict in the divided party.
Members of the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are convinced ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is fighting in Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s corner, believe the use of the police was meant to ensure her faction controls the electoral process and wins.
In most provinces, the police carried ballot papers, conducted the voting, counted votes and relayed results to the party’s national elections directorate.
Some of the losing candidates allege there were a number of irregularities such as vote-rigging and a shambolic voters’ roll that disenfranchised thousands of voters. Ironically, these are some of the complaints the opposition levelled against Zanu PF in the July 31 polls which controversially retained President Robert Mugabe back to power.
One of the losing candidates Killian Sibanda, a former Zanu PF chairperson in Bulawayo, told the Zimbabwe Independent on voting day that the use of the police in the elections was unfortunate.
“The election was a farce because of the irregularities that were witnessed, especially with regards to the voters’ roll and the use of police in conducting the polls,” Sibanda said.
Ailes Baloyi from Masvingo and Philemon Mutongi (Mashonaland East) said the polls failed to pass the democracy test.
The use of police officers in the elections was confirmed in a Mashonaland West election report to the elections directorate. The elections were presided over by Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire who said the police and CIO were used because presiding officers had not been trained.
“There is maximum co-operation from the CIO and police,” Mavhaire said.
In the build-up to the July 31 general elections, Zanu PF also used the police to run its primary and general elections.