THE voting exercise in the Zanu PF primary elections continued yesterday in Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland provinces without incidents while in the Midlands and Masvingo provinces, the process started well with a huge turnout.
The primaries were in readiness for the harmonised national polls with the ruling party targeting five million votes for the 2023 harmonised polls.
The ruling party primary elections were originally scheduled for 18 March, but were later postponed to Saturday as the party was overwhelmed with a large number of candidates who wanted to represent it in the forthcoming general elections.
In the Midlands and Masvingo provinces, elections were postponed to yesterday.
While the party’s National Command Centre is yet to announce official results, there were indications yesterday that some political heavyweights managed to retain their positions while others bounced back and will represent the party in the harmonised elections.
In Bulawayo, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Raj Modi sailed through uncontested and will represent Zanu-PF in the harmonised elections.
Prof Ncube is eyeing the National Assembly seat for Cowdray Park while Cde Modi will battle it out with opposition parties for the Bulawayo South seat.
Indications were also that musician Sandra Ndebele had won the right to represent the party in Ward 20 while Cde Tendai Charuka won in the Bulawayo Central primary elections.
By last night, Zanu PF Politburo member in charge of the primary elections in Bulawayo, Cde Elphas Mashava, and the party’s provincial leadership, were locked in a meeting at Davis Hall to wrap up the meticulous verification process.
The Chronicle news crew observed that at two polling stations located at the Old Bulawayo Polytechnic and Nketa 7 Library, voters underwent meticulous verification before casting their votes and by 1PM, the process had ended.
The party was still waiting for ballots to arrive at the provincial command centre in Lupane from the districts at the end of the day yesterday.
A total of 37 party cadres were vying to represent the party in 12 House of Assembly seats.
The Senatorial constituencies has 10 candidates while the Women’s quota has 15 candidates and one candidate is eying the youth quota.
According to the list, Bulawayo North constituency has seven candidates, Lobengula-Magwegwe (4), Bulawayo Central (3), Mpopoma-Mzilikazi (3), Pumula (2), Entumbane- Njube (3), Pelandaba-Tshabalala (3), Nkulumane (2) and Emakhandeni-Luveve (2) and Nketa (4).
Under the local authority, District Coordinating Committee (DDC 1), 31 candidates were approved, DCC 2 (22), DCC 3 (18), DCC 4 (9) and DCC 5 had 15 candidates.
In Matabeleland North, the voting spilled into yesterday in Lupane West constituency while the rest closed Saturday night. There are 13 constituencies in the province with seven districts.
Binga South had 33 polling centres, Binga North (17), Bubi (36), Hwange Central (6) Hwange East (18), Hwange West (11), Lupane East (15) Lupane West (15), Nkayi North (19), Nkayi South (18), Tsholotsho North (13), Tsholotsho South (15) and 14 for Umguza constituency.
Cde Headman Moyo who is in charge of elections in the province said they were waiting for all districts to submit results and deliver ballot boxes to the provincial command centre.
He said the elections had gone on well without any incidents of violence.
“People have voted peacefully and we did not witness any unfortunate incident. We had given a deadline of 1APM today (yesterday) for all centres to close and for now we are waiting for results from districts such as Binga,” he said.
Senior party members including the party’s provincial chair Cde Richard Moyo, Nkayi North legislator Dr Sithembiso Nyoni and her Nkayi South counterpart Cde Stars Mathe won the primaries.
In Matabeleland South province the primary elections progressed peacefully with no cases of violence being reported. Voting started as early as 8AM in some polling stations while others started late.
The voting process had been completed by Saturday evening in most polling stations while some concluded yesterday.
The provincial command centre which is located at the Matabeleland South provincial Zanu-PF offices started receiving ballot boxes from constituencies at around midday yesterday.
As the day progressed more ballot papers were delivered to the command centre. The primary elections saw new players dominating. Under the Gwanda Tshitaudze Constituency,there are indications that new entrant and businessman Cde Fisani Moyo won the ticket to represent the ruling party in this year’s harmonised elections.
In Mangwe Constituency Zanu-PF Matabeleland South Women’s League chair-lady and Ward 4 councillor, Cde Sindisiwe Nleya is reported to have won while Cde Edgar Moyo who is the current legislator for Matobo North emerged the winner.
They are also indications that former legislator for Insiza North Cde Andrew Langa bounced back after winning a ticket to represent the ruling party in the harmonised elections for the Insiza South National Assembly seat.
There are also indications that Cde Omphile Marupi won in Gwanda South after beating the incumbent legislator Cde Abedinico Ncube.
Beitbridge East legislator Cde Albert Nguluvhe reclaimed victory and will represent the party in the harmonised elections.
Zanu-PF Politburo member and overseer of the Matabeleland South primary election process, Cde Richard Ndlovu said there was a huge turnout in the province.
He said while some failed to vote due to logistical challenges, it did not affect the outcome of the elections.
“The election process went on very well and I’m pleased with the level of maturity that was displayed by party members. No cases of violence were recorded throughout the province,” said Cde Ndlovu.
He said despite minor glitches in terms of logistics, ballot papers were delivered on time in most of the polling stations.
“We had a few polling stations where the dispatching of ballot boxes was delayed. However, people were eventually able to cast their votes as the day progressed,” said Cde Ndlovu.
“Some members failed to vote as their names didn’t appear on the voter’s roll. The voting process spilled into today (yesterday) in some areas, but by midday, most polling stations were rounding up in preparation for take the ballot boxes to the district command centres.”
In the Midlands province, voting started in earnest around 7 AM across all polling stations.
The voting exercise was characterised by a huge voter turnout that saw long and winding queues in most polling stations.
In Gweru primary schools such as Lundi Park, Chikumbiro, and Bumburwi were being used as voting centres.
Voting was expected to end at 5 PM, but continued into the night following the huge turnout of voters.
In a notice by the election directorate which was addressed to the District Coordinating Committee and senior provincial members, it was stated that voting should only end when all the people have been cleared.
“Special notice in regards to the conducting of the party’s primary elections. Please be advised that you are directed to ensure that voting should continue until all people have voted. People should disregard the 6 PM deadline,” reads the notice.