PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly succumbed to pressure from his special adviser and war veterans’ leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, and allowed a re-run of Zanu PF’s Norton primary elections after the latter lost the first round and warned that his boss could face a similar fate in the upcoming presidential race.
Norton is among 10 constituencies, where the ruling party has ordered a re-run after results of the first round were challenged by the losing candidates.
Although Mutsvangwa could not be reached for comment yesterday, sources told NewsDay that his campaign team was already on the ground ahead of the re-run election, whose date is yet to be announced.
In the first round, Mutsvangwa lost to his bitter rival Langton Mutendereki by a wide margin, before he warned that Mnangagwa risked losing the upcoming general elections if his defeat was endorsed by the Zanu PF politburo.
He pointed a finger at the ruling party’s national commissar, Engelbert Rugeje, accusing him of engineering his defeat by knocking out his name from the ballot papers on the election date.
He also claimed Mutendereki was ineligible for election and had his name clandestinely added to the candidates’ list.
“It is inconceivable that the President will win given that the party’s members have been largely disenfranchised,” he said.
“We realised that instead of being in the primary elections to provide peace and a stable environment in which Zanu PF members freely express themselves and choose their leaders, the national commissar, being a political novice, sought advice from a rehabilitated ex-Gamatox commissar in the form of Webster Shamu to turn police into returning-officers,” Mutsvangwa said in a hard-hitting statement addressed to the party’s national electoral commission headed by Rugeje.
Norton is among the 10 constituencies ordered to conduct fresh elections after the initial phase was marred by massive irregularities, which saw some party bigwigs being felled by political upstarts.
Rugeje could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Some of the bigwigs given a second bite of the cherry include Philip Chiyangwa (Zvimba North), Douglas Mahiya (Harare South), Dexter Nduna (Chegutu West) and contestants in Zvimba South, Glen View South, Hwata senatorial constituents and Mhondoro Ngezi, among others.
In Mashonaland Central, reruns will also be done in Shamva North, Shamva South and Mazowe West (women’s quota), whereas in Midlands, a rerun will be conducted in Shurugwi (women’s quota).
There will be reruns in Gutu East in Masvingo province, as well as in Chipinge and Buhera West in Manicaland. Besides Norton, Zvimba North, Zvimba South, Mashonaland West will see reruns in Chinhoyi Central, Chegutu East and Makonde.
Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Musarara, who challenged his rival Kazembe Kazembe’s victory, could not confirm or deny reports of a pending re-run.
“I submit myself to the outcomes of the party and I have no mandate to speak to the Press on the outcomes of party processes,” he said.
Kazembe, however, insisted that his victory had been upheld by the politburo, adding the seat would not be subjected to a re-run.
“There are people trying to spread mischievous lies and we know who they are. We are not having a re-run in my constituency, but in the province, there will be two constituencies. I cannot say which ones. Let’s wait for the commissariat to make a statement,” he said.
Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Ziyambi Ziyambi declined to comment on the planned re-runs lined up in his province.
“I can only relay information once I have it, until then, I have no information,” he said.