How Zanu PF ‘stole’ Mbare from CCC

A number of vendors said they were forced to register as voters in Mbare by Zanu PF linked space barons

Zanu PF has been accused of employing dirty tactics to win Mbare constituency including forcing vendors who reside in other suburbs but operating from the capital’s oldest suburb to vote in the area.

Zanu PF candidate Martin Matinyanya won the Mbare seat after beating Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s brother, Starman.

Starman has rejected the results citing an unfair electoral environment, among other irregularities as well as intimidation of voters.

A number of vendors who spoke to Standard said they were forced to register as voters in Mbare by Zanu PF-linked space barons,

Zanu PF officials provided the informal traders with documents indicating residency in Mbare, they said.

“We were forced to register to vote in Mbare by those that control the vending areas here,” said one vendor who identified herself as Mai Machuma.

“They said if we failed to register we would lose our vending spaces.”

Another vendor said: “We got a directive from those that communicate on behalf of the space owners saying they had been told to tell us that we should register to vote in Mbare so that we maintain our spaces.

“We were told that we were supposed to vote for musangano (Zanu-PF).”

In October last year, Zanu PF and Citizens' Coalition for Change (CCC) activists fought over control of vending spaces in Mbare’s Mupedzanhamo market.

Information gathered by this publication revealed that open spaces in Mbare were rented on a daily basis and belong to mostly Zanu PF members.

Tenants rent tables or spaces at a US$5 fee daily.

Council has failed over the years to effect order at Mbare markets.

Zanu PF space barons have been powerful in determining who gets what, where, in relation to space.

According to data analysts, Team Pachedu, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) illegally changed the final Mbare delimitation boundaries resulting in the movement of 7,514 voters from an opposition stronghold area of Mbare to Southerton and replaced them with Zanu PF non-resident mass transfers.

Starman blamed his loss on the activities of the Zanu PF space barons.

“People who were not even on the voters’ roll were allowed to vote,” Starman said.

“They had a different voters’ roll, which had cell numbers and addresses of vendors.

“Vendors were forced to come in groups with their assigned chairpersons, who would then mark their names on the day of polling before they cast their votes.”

Zanu PF acting information director, Farai Marapira, dismissed claims of rigging

“Zanu PF does not comment on rumours. We only respond where there is evidence,” Marapira said.

“Anyone can say anything, but it does not make it true. If there is no evidence then it’s simply gossip.”

CCC has refused to accept election results and is pushing for a fresh poll supervised by the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

Zanu PF insists that there is no re-run and says it is now preparing for President  Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration.

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