Zanu PF confident of by-elections upset

Cde Mike Bimha

RESULTS of Zanu PF primary elections held in nine National Assembly constituencies on Saturday are expected today with the ruling party confident of upstaging the opposition CCC in Bulawayo, Harare, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces in by-elections slated for December 9.

The by-elections were necessitated by the recall of 14 CCC members of the National Assembly and nine Senators by the opposition party’s interim secretary-general Mr Sengezo Tshabangu last month.

Subsequently, President Mnangagwa proclaimed December 9 as the date for the by-elections in the nine constituency seats as he must under the Electoral Act once notified of the vacancies by the Speaker of the National Assembly and Senate president.

By-elections now have to be held in Cowdray Park, Mpopoma-Mzilikazi, Lobengula-Magwegwe, Lupane East, Bulawayo South, Nketa, Binga North, Mabvuku-Tafara and Beitbridge West with the remaining seats made vacant by the recall being proportional representation seats that the CCC nominees will fill.

These are women’s quota seats in the National Assembly and all Senate vacancies in seats previously held by the party.

Indications are that Cde Raj Modi will represent Zanu PF in Bulawayo South after he was unopposed in the primary election while Cde Menziwe Dube will stand in Lobengula-Magwegwe.

Cde Dzingai Makamba will contest in Mpopoma-Mzilikazi, Cde Arthur Mujeyi in Cowdray Park, Cde Albert Mavhunga in Nketa while Cde Scott Sakupwanya will represent the ruling party in Mabvuku-Tafara.

Zanu PF, which has a commanding majority in Parliament, has made it clear that it aims to fish from the opposition pond and maintain its dominance in rural areas.

Results from the by-elections show the ruling party is making incremental gains as its policies gain traction across the country.

Led by President Mnangagwa, the governing party has launched an urban renewal agenda that has seen roads being rehabilitated under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme while water challenges are being addressed in the short term through the Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme. Construction of dams will offer a long-term solution.

President Mnangagwa has issued title deeds to residents of Epworth and parts of Harare South with the programme being extended to urban dwellers in other cities and towns.

Central Government had to step in to fill the gap in service delivery created by opposition councillors who have been focusing on lining their pockets in the past 23 years.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu PF Political Commissar Cde Mike Bimha said the revolutionary party would make fresh inroads in CCC urban strongholds.

“The internecine fights of the fractious CCC formations handed Zanu PF a propitious chance to win more National Assembly seats and thus increase its muscle in Parliament.

“It’s clear that two decades of MDC-CCC urban neglect, feckless maladministration, screaming corruption, and rotten decay are all finally beginning to invite the wrath of the long-suffering urban citizenry at the expense of Nelson Chamisa and his acrimonious cohorts,” he said.

Cde Bimha said Zanu PF had been ready for the by-elections before the date had been proclaimed by President Mnangagwa.

“We have been preparing for elections as part of our mobilisation strategy. We are always ready for elections. We are confident of reclaiming some seats for Zanu PF considering the achievements made by the Second Republic” he said.

This preparedness, Cde Bimha said, only served to show the strength within the ruling party’s structures.

“We are always confident and we were even ready before these by-elections were announced and the reason why we are always confident is that as a party we operate through our structures and those structures are strong.

“They are even stronger now because we are just coming from a campaign period,” he said.

The nomination courts will sit tomorrow (Tuesday) to receive nomination papers from prospective candidates for the December 9 by-elections.

The High Court on Saturday threw out an application by 23 former CCC MPs to overturn their recalls from Parliament.

The Government last week approved a US$5 million budget for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to conduct the by-elections to fill nine vacant seats in the National Assembly that were prompted by the expulsion of the opposition legislators last month.

Mr Tshabangu recently recalled 14 legislators, including six elected through proportional representation, as well as nine senators and 17 councillors.

The legislators then approached the High Court seeking to overturn the recalls.

However, Justice Munamato Mutevedzi dismissed the application after he found that the MPs failed to provide the party’s constitution “or any document which showed that Sengezo Tshabangu could possibly not have held the position he claimed he held”.

The ruling paves the way for the by-elections to proceed, with ZEC now finalising preparations for conducting the polls.

Herald

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