By Kenneth Matimaire
Chimanimani, November 27, 2016 – ZANU PF has won the highly anticipated Chimanimani West by-election by a massive 8 000 plus margin amid vote rigging claims by opponents and independent electoral observers.
Party candidate Nokuthula Matsikenyere garnered 11 446 votes with second placed independent candidate Edmore Mtetwa getting 3 018 votes.
Peter Gudyanga, the candidate from Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe got a paltry 183 votes with the National Constitution Assembly candidate, Pesanai Musakaruka getting 171 votes.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission provincial election officer Retired Colonel Moffat Masabeya announced the results at a Command Centre situated at Nedziwa Secondary School on Sunday.
The Chimanimani West by-election had been under spotlight following the ruling party’s embarrassing defeat in the Norton by-election by former party member Temba Mliswa.
Zanu PF, which has won all by-elections except for Norton since the 2013 general elections, feared a repeat of the Norton embarrassment.
The Chimanimani West seat fell vacant after Munacho Mutezo was expelled by President Robert Mugabe’s party for his association with the Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First.
However, Zanu PF’s poll victory was not without its own controversy.
Reports have surfaced of ballot papers that were recovered at one of the polling stations at Nedziwe Primary School. The ballot paper was identified around 9am after more than 140 people had voted.
Independent poll watchdog, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network said it was investigating the case.
Moreover, Suspected Zanu PF members were seen jotting down names of voters who queued to cast their votes at polling stations at Tonhorai Primary School in Ward 20 and Shinja Primary School in Ward 6.