Vote buying antics exposed in Muzarabani North
By Gift Dube
MUZARABANI – Munyaradzi Gumbo, a candidate that was contesting in Muzarabani North Constituency, Mashonaland Central Province in the just ended ZANU PF primary elections and lost to Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, has been exposed for vote buying.
Gumbo is accused of bribing chiefs who in turn threatened their village heads to impose him as the preferred candidate.
Investigation by this Publication reviewed that, village heads were instructed to impose Gumbo ahead of the primaries, failure of which they were to lose their positions.
The three traditional leaders accused of working in cohorts with Gumbo to influence votes include Chief Kasekete, Chief Muzarabani and Chief Hwata.
The chiefs had backed Gumbo after introducing him as the preferred candidate ahead of Soda.
However, Soda went on to garner 9757 votes against Gumbo who only managed 5593.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one village head from Hoya Ward says:
“Kana vachitora husabhuku hwacho ngavautore, panekuti ndipesane nezvido zvevanhu, tichifadza ivo vapihwa mari naMunyaradzi Gumbo.
“This is against the thrust by President Mnangagwa to have democracy in the party.
“Gumbo only benefited after the ZANU PF National Elections Directorate’s instruction to allow him to contest without having served in any party position for at least five years at District level,” he added.
A group of disgruntled women also expressed their frustrations.
“Iye Munyaradzi Gumbo kana aifunga kuti mari yake yaakapa madzimambo kuti vatume masabhuku kuti vatimanikidzire pekuvhotera, ichashanda nekwatiri zvino haina chayakabatsira vanhu vakasarudza mwana watinoziva ane nhoroondo yekushanda, anova Zhemu Soda,” she said.
These sentiments by villagers were reflected in last weekend’s primary elections in which Hon. Soda won.
A businessman at Muzarabani Growth Point said he witnessed the plot to ouster Soda.
“I have been part of a WhatsApp group where some senior civil servants of ZRP Muzarabani was a key strategist behind Gumbo.
“They plotted to corrupt traditional chiefs and implore them to force village heads to instruct every villager to vote for Gumbo,” he said.
In an effort to discredit Soda’s victory, Gumbo’s sympathizers were mobilized to stage unsanctioned demonstrations in various wards on Monday this week.
Based on the results announced by the ZANU PF National Political Commissar, Mike Bimha, Mashonaland Central which has a total of 18 Constituencies, had only five of the seating Members of Parliament retaining their positions during the primary elections.
Twelve of the MPs failed to retain their seats and only one did not seek re-election.
Most village heads are in panic mode as the threat to lose their positions is being taken serious by the chiefs, since the outcome of the primary election saw Gumbo losing.
Several efforts were made to get a comments from both Soda and Gumbo but they were not reachable.