THE opposition MDC-T’s Bulawayo province yesterday said the low voter turnout during the Nkulumane by-election, held at the weekend and won by Zanu PF, had proved that the electorate had lost trust in the ruling party.
By SILAS NKALA
MDC-T deputy provincial spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda described the paltry 2 161 votes, won by Zanu PF candidate Killian Sibanda, as a drop in the ocean for a constituency with over 13 000 registered voters.
Sibanda was declared winner after thumping little-known Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe candidate, Ngwalo Nyathi, who got 680 votes and Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe candidate, Sibusisiwe Mpofu, who managed only 397 votes.
The MDC-T and other mainstream opposition parties boycotted the poll, citing an uneven playing field. The parties have vowed to continue with their boycott until the Zanu PF government has implemented key electoral reforms.
Sibanda denied accusations that his party had donated the Nkulumane seat, which fell vacant following the recent death of MDC-T legislator, Thamsanga Mahlangu.
“This is not a donation, but it’s a strategy of calling for electoral reforms as it were,” he said.
“We wish to inform our members that the so-called celebrations by Zanu PF are short-lived in Bulawayo and if electoral reforms are implemented. Going by the Nkulumane by-election, apathy won not Zanu PF, as the winner only garnered 16% of the registered voters. He got only 2 161 votes out of the 13 331 registered votes and his victory is minimal such that it cannot be celebrated.
“The apathy was as a result of a credible party (MDC-T) not taking part in the election, hence, our supporters boycotted the poll because the election was just a non-event,” he said. “Come credible elections, we will clinch all the seats in Bulawayo. We, therefore, call up on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be non-partisan and open doors for reforming electoral laws so as to have undisputed elections in 2018.”
Zanu PF, which has now bagged six seats in the city, had struggled to make inroads into Bulawayo, one of MDC-T’s strongholds since its formation in 1999.