ZANU PF is set to claim a sixth parliamentary seat in Bulawayo, as four opposition parties have ruled out participating in the Nkulumane by-election next month.
by Nqobile Bhebhe
MDC, MDC-T, Zapu and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said they were boycotting the polls on the basis the playing field was not even.
The Nkulumane seat fell vacant following the death of Thamsanqa Mahlangu in October this year and the nomination court is set to sit on Friday, while the by-election will be on December 19.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said they were still sticking to their stance of boycotting elections in the absence of reforms.
“The MDC-T will not be participating in the forthcoming Nkulumane by-election. We are still bound by our ‘no reforms, no elections’ national council resolution,” he said.
“So far, there is no fundamental change for the better in the electoral playing field that will warrant our participation in a deeply-flawed election.
“We are, nonetheless, pushing very hard with our political, diplomatic and legal thrust to have the electoral reforms carried out to ensure that all future elections in Zimbabwe will be free and fair and thus give a result that is credible and beyond contestation.”
Asked whether the party would sanction members who chose to contest as independent candidates, he said: “All members of the MDC-T are bound by the national council resolution.
“Any member who decides to contest the by-election as an independent candidate will be deemed to have automatically dismissed himself/herself from the party.”
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said Zanu PF was bound to rig the elections as the playing field was uneven.
“The MDC will not participate in the Nkulumane by-election in the absence of required electoral reforms. We will not participate in any future elections until (President Robert) Mugabe has agreed to the full implementation of electoral reforms,” he said.
“We are demanding a level playing field from the brutal regime that has a history of stealing elections to prolong its stay in office.
“We have the required ammunition to gun down the regime in a free and fair battle. We shall continue to press Mugabe down until he agrees to our demands.”
PDP Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Fortune Mlalazi said the party was distancing itself “from participating in the sham by-election”.
“Realising that the Zanu PF government has refused to implement electoral demands, which include availability of electronic voters’ roll and biometric voters’ roll that we have been calling for as an opposition movement, we, therefore, have decided to distance ourselves from participating in this sham by-election whose playing field is not level.
“The muzzling of the media and lack of electoral reforms have already predetermined the outcome of the by-election,” he said.
In an interview with Southern Eye yesterday, Zapu spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa said participating would be “technically tricky”, as they were busy with key congress preparations.
“As a party, we have not discussed the aspect of participation, as we are currently seized with congress preparations,” he said.
“The by-election days nearly coincide with our congress, which is set for December 15 to 18. So I am not sure whether we will participate.”
The opposition has already boycotted a number of elections, allowing Zanu PF to regain in constituencies it last won in the 1995 polls.