MUTARE – ZANU PF aspiring candidate for Makoni Central Basil Nyabadza, who alleges that electoral fraud played a role in his narrow loss in the party’s primary election to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, has formally contested the results.
Nyabadza, who quit the provincial chairmanship in protest to the Zanu PF national secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa’s failure to clinch the national chairmanship in 2009, has asked for an investigation and possibly a re-run to select the best candidate for the next general elections.
Chinamasa hit back at his nemesis, accusing him of deliberately refusing to accept defeat with the intention of destabilizing the party ahead of crucial polls.
“It is their strategy. Do you think it’s possible at this juncture for the party to withdraw my candidature? Don’t you see it’s their strategy? They are playing a bhora musango. He is bitter that I defeated him. I won the election, and I see no reason why he is crying foul,” said Chinamasa.
Nyabadza, who last Friday petitioned the Zanu PF presidium and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), said he would take legal action if the party fails to resolve the matter internally — a move that further threatens the peace and stability the party needs ahead of the crucial elections.
Nyabadza said he has concerns about some of those who voted, disenfranchisement of his supporters and the “doctoring” of the results at the command centre.
The ongoing dispute over Chinamasa’s candidacy, however, threatens to derail the healing process as the Arda board chairman has embarked on a whirlwind campaign trail of the constituency inciting his supporters to disregard Chinamasa’s candidature.
Nyabadza likened his party’s decision to anoint Chinamasa ahead of him as “putting poison in a community well”.
“There is a clear result that came out of those elections, and the result is that I won the primary election. The result announced at the command centre was false and fabricated. Those who doctored and manufactured those numbers did not even get the arithmetic correct. Fabrication took place at the command centre,” said Nyabadza.
“We are facing the general elections, and we need to send the truth to our people, the moment we as a revolutionary party are seen to be entertaining unbecoming behaviour, that has serious consequences at the coming poll. We are now facing stiff challenge. If people want X, that is what the people have said.
“Do not look at the stature or position of the candidate; look at what the people have said. Primary elections are there to confirm the will of the people,” said Nyabadza, adding that he was the rightful candidate to wrestle the seat from the MDC-T.
“Zanu PF must field the best candidate for it to wrestle the seat from the MDC-T. Zanu PF cannot, at this juncture, afford to donate the seat to its rivals again,” said Nyabadza, whose presence last Friday at the Nomination Court raised suspicions that he was lodging his papers to stand as an independent.
“I beat him, I won the election, and I have petitioned the top management of the party to withdraw his candidature. I approached ZEC and notified them that there was a problem in Makoni Central, and that whoever comes claiming to be representing the party was doing that against a background of an unresolved issue.
“I had to do that because I will never be an independent candidate. I am a Zanu PF player by choice and I will remain a Zanu PF cadre. Mumba kana mukapinda nyoka, let’s deal with the snake, not to bring down the house. In this case we have a problem, we have a snake in the house, let’s deal with that problem. If he is not withdrawn, I will challenge his eligibility before the court of law.
“The people cannot be denied their right for the next five years. I have rights before the law. The people who voted have the rights before the law. We should field the best candidate who is from the people.
“The party has the mandate to withdraw the candidature of anybody if evidence is there to prove that unbecoming behaviour ushered that person to power. I will take the matter to court. There is a way. Chirema chine mazano. I will continue to pursue a just exercise. I am fearless. I will never be intimidated by mankind. I trust and fear God,” said Nyabadza.
Political analyst Mr Ishe Kamba Makoni said it was unfortunate that Zanu PF allowed the two heavyweights to lock horns. The move, he said was ill-advised, as it was now creating unnecessary animosity among its top officials.
“The battle of the two titans — which produced Chinamasa as the winner of the ticket – may be read as the reward for the sterling work that he has done at high level politics and in the inclusive government which the other contestant did not have.
“Perhaps Nyabadza was being punished for having resigned from the provincial chairmanship in protest in 2009. Nyabadza’s loss was a disapproval of inconsistent behaviour,” said Mr Makoni, adding that it would have been more beneficial to Zanu PF had the two been put in separate constituencies.