By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
27 January 2014
Irregularities that marred the disputed elections last year have again been reported during the weekend’s by-elections in three wards.
ZANU PF, which won the July polls by a contested ‘landslide’, were again the alleged victors in the by-elections, held in wards in Mbare, Zaka and Karoi.
In Mbare ward 12, ZANU PF’s Maureen Nyemba claimed 843 votes to the 835 secured by the MDC-T’s Albert Muponda. Takura Gadzira of the newly formed NCA party received 76 votes, while independent candidate Jack Ethen Muzanenhamo got 26.
In Ward 32 in Zaka, ZANU PF retained its leadership position with candidate Togarepi Toruvanda scoring 861 votes. The MDC-T’s Elias Mutava got 107 votes, while NCA candidate Enock Chikamhi received 62.
And in Karoi ward 10, ZANU PF’s Fortunate Madamombe scored 725 votes against the 226 votes for the MDC-T’s Solomon Chiwenga Musekiwa.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said that “under the circumstances” the result is still positive for the MDC-T, which in recent weeks has been faced with a credibility crisis. Infighting, calls for leadership renewal and other issue have seen the party face serious criticism and doubts.
“We are quite happy with the number of people who came out to vote for us, and it shows there is still interest in the party,” Mwonzora said.
He explained many irregularities were reported that made the end result “obvious,” including ‘vote buying’ tactics by ZANU PF. He said the MDC-T has evidence of food being used as a political weapon in Zaka and Karoi, with food support only being given to ZANU PF ‘supporters’.
He also said that scores of people voted using voter registration slips, which weren’t supposed to be allowed in local polls. This was after widespread reports that fake registration slips were used during the general election last year.
“There’s been a lot of intimidation especially outside Harare. There was use of voter registration slips and we did not have the voters roll as usual. Plus the MDC-T is not in the best financial position to support candidates,” Mwonzora said.
“So under these circumstances, this is a good result for us. We will be working hard, this is a start and the party is on the rise,” Mwonzora added.