Zanu PF will today hope to win constituencies in Bulawayo for the first time in 15 years, in by-elections whose lustre has been diminished by the non-participation of the MDCs.
By Staff Reporters
Five by-elections are being held in Bulawayo, with 11 others countrywide, as Zanu PF hopes to benefit from a decision by the MDC-T to recall rebel legislators and also to boycott the polls.
The party’s best chance to win a seat is in Makokoba, where serial loser Tshinga Dube has again pumped in thousands into the constituency.
Other by-elections in the city will be held in Luveve, Pumula, Lobengula-Magwegwe and Pelandaba-Mpopoma.
Despite the boycott by the MDCs, other parties, particularly Zapu, are challenging Zanu PF in some constituencies and have said the ruling party will not have it easy.
“Despite the skewed political playing field, we are locked in the fight against the despotic Zanu PF regime,” the party’s northern region co-ordinator, Derek Katsenga, said.
“But we are confident that Zapu has your will to win the five constituencies in Bulawayo and all other future elections.”
The elections have seen a number of independent candidates seeking to fill the vacuum created by the MDCs’ non-participation.
Pumula independent candidate Albert Mhlanga, who is also a member of MDC Renewal, said he was confident he would retain his seat which he lost following the MDC-T recall.
“I am very confident I will retain the Pumula seat,” he said.
“The campaign was smooth throughout, but only turned sour when almost the whole (Zimbabwean) Cabinet landed in Pumula.
“I have never seen almost the whole Cabinet turning out in Bulawayo.”
Mhlanga said Zanu PF had sent most of its senior members to campaign in the city, an indication this was a high stakes poll for the party.
“The only person who did not come to Bulawayo is President Robert Mugabe because of his (foreign) trips,” he said.
Another key election in the region will be the Tsholotsho North constituency poll where Information minister Jonathan Moyo is hoping to win back the seat he lost to then MDC-T’s Roselyn Nkomo in 2013.
Moyo celebrated when by-elections were announced, with his Cabinet colleague Saviour Kusukuwere saying to him “it’s time to bring it back home”.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has told party structures in the province not to vote, but Moyo insists the independent candidates he is facing
are proxies of the opposition party.
The other by-elections will be held in Dzivarasekwa, Glen View South, Harare East, Highfield West, Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana, Dangamvura-Chikanga and Mbizo.
By-elections were also called in Hurungwe West and Headlands following the expulsion of Didymus Mutasa and Temba Mliswa from Zanu PF.