THE MDC Alliance has raised alarm over plans to rig elections next week as the opposition coalition’s intelligence officers claim that Zanu PF is working tooth and nail to ensure it wins at least seven constituencies in Harare, one of the alliance’s strongholds.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Among the targeted constituencies in Harare noted by the coalition’s intelligence department are Harare East, Harare South, Mount Pleasant, Mabvuku, Epworth, Harare North, Kambuzuma, Harare West, Chitungwiza South and Zengeza East.
Sources in the department also claimed that some constituencies in Masvingo, for instance Bikita East, Gutu Central, Gutu West, Zaka West and Masvingo South, were likely to see a Zanu PF victory due to the confusion caused by candidates who registered either as independents or double MDC Alliance candidates.
Bulawayo South, Nkayi constituencies, Muzarabani North and Mazowe West are some of the constituencies that have given the intelligence team headaches.
“We are very concerned that Zanu PF might win some of these constituencies due to the confusion created by the ‘rebels’ who defiantly embarked on parallel campaign programmes using own-sourced regalia, but with the same parties’ colours and logos. This move is likely to confuse voters and divide votes for the parties’ chosen candidates,” said a source from the security department.
“The main target of most constituencies is Harare East. Why Harare East? Because it is a constituency also contested by one of the most vocal MDC Alliance principals—Tendai Biti. Zanu PF believed that they are going to win this election. So if (MDC Alliance president Nelson) Chamisa loses and Biti loses, the Alliance will be at its weakest point given that Welshman Ncube is not contesting in any of the seats. So we suggested that we need to have enhanced security details at these polling stations.”
Political commentators say Harare East is one constituency to watch in next week’s elections, as it is highly contested. Eyeing the seat are Biti, MDC-T vice-president Obert Gutu and deputy Finance minister Terence Mukupe of Zanu PF.
“The big problem with the MDC Alliance is that they rely on open source intelligence. They lack a well-functioning intelligence system. They don’t depend so much on security,” he said. “We have told them that an election is not about rallies; especially this election is more about technical issues. If you ask some of the candidates how many polling stations are in their constituency, they have no idea.
“However, with Zanu PF, they even know how many people voted in their constituencies in the previous elections and our understanding is that they used the 2008 election results on each polling station for their own use and planning.”
In Bulawayo South constituency, Kunashe Muchemwa filed his nomination papers under the MDC Alliance banner while Francis Mangwendeza also filed under the same ticket in the constituency where 16 candidates are vying for the National Assembly seat.
Harare South has two MDC Alliance candidates contesting each other, namely Shadreck Mashayamombe and Samuel Saurombe.
Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi, who lost in the primary elections, defied his party’s orders and is battling it out with party candidate James Chidhakwa.
Mazowe North has two MDC Alliance candidates, Stephen Muchenje and McMillan Ndlovu, while Mazowe South has Gamuchirai Chakwera and Gift Chimanikire contesting each other also under the MDC Alliance ticket. Two candidates in Mazowe West filed under the MDC Alliance, namely Thamarie Chimanzi and Muchihwa Rorana.
Muzarabani North constituency will see two MDC Alliance contestants battling each other and other political parties as well as in the Goromonzi West constituency where Chamisa’s former spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka was challenged by Clifford Nhamburo.
Masvingo province has also seen more than one MDC Alliance candidate filing in some constituencies. In Bikita East, two MDC Alliance candidates are vying for the constituency, namely Bornface Mudzingwa and Jacob Ngarivhume. Ngarivhume is the president of Transform Zimbabwe, one of the political parties constituting the MDC Alliance.
Gutu Central has two MDC Alliance candidates contesting the seat, namely Ernest Mandigo and Crispa Musoni, while Gutu North has Juniel Manyere and Edmore Maramwidze.
Gutu West has Stanley Manguma and Knowledge Mupini both representing MDC Alliance. Justin Makota and Lovemore Matongo are candidates who filed under the MDC Alliance in Masvingo South constituency while Zaka West has Festus Dumbu and William Zivenge.