New Zimbabwe.com

Khupe, Bhebhe differ on poll rigging claims

By Bulawayo Correspondent

MDC -T national chair Abednico Bhebhe Tuesday sang from a different hymn book with that of party president Thokozani Khupe who recently gave the just ended harmonised elections a clean bill of health.

Khupe, who came a distant third in the highly disputed presidential election July 30, said last week the poll that gave Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu PF his first mandate as the country’s number one was free and fair.

“But in this particular election, I want to honestly say that we did not have any problems. I slept at my house, most of our candidates slept at their homes. So, this is the freedom that we experienced as a political party,” Khupe said then.

She added, “Whilst as a political party, we had problems of violence, skirmishes all of which were from our erstwhile cousins (MDC Alliance), we can safely say this was largely peaceful election.”

Of the 23 presidential candidates who were vying for the country’s top job, MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa emerged the most aggrieved and has lodged a Constitutional Court challenge against official results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission citing massive vote fraud by the incumbent.

However, as debate rages on who could be right between Khupe and her erstwhile ally, Bhebhe has emerged to contradict her boss, insisting the poll was indeed rigged.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Bhebhe said elections were also rigged in Nkayi South where he lost his bid to retain his seat to Zanu PF’s Stars Mathe.

“In Nkayi South, we witnessed covert and very sophisticated rigging machinery.

“For example, there were a lot of people who voted whom we did not know where they had come from,” he said.

The former legislator also complained about vote buying and abuse of government food relief by Zanu PF.

“Social welfare food was used to buy votes for Zanu PF. Food manipulation played a very important role in Zanu PF’s victory in this election,” he said.

The comments by Bhebhe also tally with Chamisa’s line of argument in his attempts to discredit a poll that gave Zanu PF a two thirds majority in parliament.