Violence Erupts As Aspiring Zanu PF Chairman ‘Smuggles’ Ballot Boxes

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

ASPIRING Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairman, Vengai Musengi has courted the ire of his rivals, who accuse him of transporting stuffed ballot boxes and attempting to impose his preferred presiding officers in a desperate bid to win the elections.

According to reports reaching, the former provincial Youth League boss instructed his functionaries to move ballot papers from Chegutu to Selous where he wanted to influence voting patterns, before unleashing violence of presiding officers who tried to resist imposition of Musengi’s henchmen.

A source said: “On arrival Ben Musengi, who is brother to Vengai Musengi, a district coordinating committee (DCC) member secretary for indigenisation, declared that polling officers be removed and be replaced with new ones. The new names were of thugs and artisanal miners that are loyal to Musengi.

When Ben Musengi was asked why he was illegally taking over processes, he and his thugs not only threatened party members, but chased them away throwing rocks and stones at them.”

Added the source: “lt is clear that the voting process in Selous can no longer be viewed as free and fair. If we as Zanu PF cannot hold free, credible and fair elections, how then can we say we are a democratic party? How can our national leaders answer to accusations of vote rigging and the use of violence by the opposition, when within Zanu PF we have people like the Musengi brothers who want to turn themselves into the Kasukuweres in Mashonaland Central.”

Repeated efforts to get comment from Musengi were fruitless by the time of publishing.

In spite of the rigging fears and violence that was recorded in Selous, elections to choose a new provincial chairman for Mashonaland West were conducted in a peaceful environment, which candidates were hopeful would reflect the will of the electorate.

Voting reportedly went on without incident in Kariba while in Hurungwe and Zvimba districts there were delays in the start of the electoral process due to logistical challenges.

Information deputy minister, Kindness Paradza told that he was confident of a clean victory.

“Voting went on smoothly in most districts, although there were skirmishes in Chakari and Mhondoro-Ngezi. But generally, the elections were free and fair, l am confident of winning as my fiercest rival (Mary Mliswa-Chikoka) is tallying way below what l am getting at various polling stations. I am least worried about Musengi’s shenanigans in Selous,” said Paradza, a former provincial administration secretary.

By the time of writing, Mliswa-Chikoka had managed to emerge victorious in Chinhoyi districts where she commands support, although this could not be said in other districts where her candidature was blemished over irregular distribution of free agricultural inputs from government.

Aspiring Youth League chairman, Tapiwa Masenda is also confident of landing the post, describing his contender Tatenda Gwinji as a “pretender.”