Matabeleland’s battle ground constituences

ZIMBABWE holds elections today and Southern Eye looks at some of the constituencies whose outcomes are likely to be closely followed.

Nduduzo Tshuma

The Makokoba seat attracts a lot of interest, as MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo, who inherited the constituency from party deputy president, Thokozani Khupe, fights to retain the seat.

Moyo’s two major opponents are Zanu PF’s Tshinga Dube who has held a number of activities including a music concert in the constituency, and Thabile Ndlovu from MDC.

Khupe was recommended to the party list for the women’s quota amid factional fights within the MDC-T in the constituency and fears that she was going to struggle to hold onto the seat.

The constituency has been the centre stage for factional fights within the MDC-T provincial structures between members aligned to Khupe and others to incumbent Mzilikazi senator Matson Hlalo.

On the other hand, Dube is a maverick candidate, not quick to sing the virtues of Zanu PF despite being a senior member of the party.

Ndlovu champions himself as man of the people and says he understands their problems.

The constituency witnesses a clash between two new representatives of MDC-T and MDC, namely Bulawayo lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa and Anele Ndebele. Ndebele beat incumbent Felix Magalela Sibanda in the MDC-T primary elections.

Sibanda, after his loss, opted to contest as an independent candidate, citing irregularities in the party’s internal polls — a move that may split the votes. Sibanda and other independent candidates have drawn the ire of the party and were taken to court to be blocked from using the face of party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in their campaigns.

Mazibisa grew up in the suburb and is confident that his background and other social corporate responsibility programmes he has launched will propel him to Parliament.

Bulawayo East
A tricky encounter is on the cards between incumbent MDC-T legislator Thabitha Khumalo and MDC’s David Coltart, the Khumalo senator.

Coltart turned his sights on the constituency following the passing of the new Constitution that indicated that senators would be appointed on a proportional representation format.

Coltart is the only legislator from the MDC to have won a seat in Bulawayo in the last election, while Khumalo has incumbency on her side. Khumalo, a vocal trade unionist, has been accused of sabotage in the election pulling down Coltart’s posters — a charge she vehemently refutes.

Malthus Ncube was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly pulling down a Zanu PF campaign poster.

Tsholotsho North
MDC-T candidate Roselene Nkomo will face off with Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo, credited with formulating a number of the party’s strategies.

In the last election, MDC-T backed Moyo, who beat off competition in a closely elected race, from the MDC-T. While focus may be on Nkomo, wife of Water Resources minister, Samuel Sipepa and Moyo, the dark horse in the race may be Sethulo Ndebele of the MDC. Nkomo hopes to be David that fell ed the giant Goliath.

The MDC-T claims Moyo won the seat as an independent in 2008 after they agreed with the Zanu PF politburo member that the party would not field a candidate.

Moyo has on many occasions dismissed the claims.

Nkomo has through her SamRose Community Development Trust, been spearheading a number of projects that include cattle and goat rearing, garden projects among others.

Moyo, however, has always practised a different approach to campaigns ever since he joined politics. Moyo has secretly identified strategic personnel who campaign on his behalf.

Last year, Moyo poured money towards the holding of ceremonies inaugurating local chiefs Mathuphula and Tategulu in Tsholotsho.
Two constituencies were won by Zanu PF, with politburo members Obert Mpofu winning in Umguza and Sithembiso Nyoni in Nkayi North.
Clifford Sibanda won the Bubi seat, while Martin Khumalo won in Lupane West.

Zanu PF Matabeleland South chairperson Andrew Langa occupies the Insiza North seat, while party politburo member Kembo Mohadi won the Beitbridge East seat.

Mpofu has been campaigning for Zanu PF in Matabeleland North, dishing out food and agricultural inputs.

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