zwnews.com Political Reporter- Simba Moyo
Before a car is used after undergoing mechanical repairs, it is usually road tested first so as to be sure if it is now perfect, and before a project is rolled out fully, it first undergoes a pilot phase, this is exactly what ZANU PF has been doing to their rigging machinations before full deployment in 2018.
The ruling party has of late been using by-elections as a yardstick to measure the effectiveness of their rigging system.
Even the party’s under fire political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, at one time admitted that his party uses everything possible to win elections, he told a gathering before the elections in Bikita last year that the party used food handouts to buy votes, and they won it.
The party has also test run the use of intimidation and violence and again in some places it worked for them.
Of late, the party tested yet another element of the vote rigging machine, the manipulation and or tampering with figures to their advantage.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti has questioned the recent figures from the Mwenezi elections, to which ZANU PF garnered more than 18 000 votes in a sparsely populated constituency.
Biti believes there could have been elements of tempering with figures, and says this presents a mammoth task in store for opposition parties as the clock ticks towards 2018, and Biti fears if this is not going to be deployed in the next general polls.
Looking at the figures, ZANU PF got 18790 votes, NCA got 482 votes, FreeZim got 386, with 652 being spoilt ballot papers, but Biti is saying by judging with the actual size and population density of the area, it is almost not possible for the constituency the figures from the voting results could not be real.
“That ZANU PF can scrounge 18 700 votes from a sparsely populated Mwenezi East speak volumes about the challenge ahead of us,” he says.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu seems to concur with Biti on the huge challenge that lies ahead, basing on how ZANU PF is manipulating rural votes.
“Rural constituencies will determine who wins elections in 2018,” he says.
Gutu says it is disheartening that the chiefs and traditional leaders are now acting as the ruling party’s commissars threatening villagers on its behalf.
Biti’s comments come at the time there has been voter irregularities that characterised the polls. Run up to the election, there were reports of violence, intimidation of the masses, and distribution of donated food on party lines, amid confusion on the voting day.