The ruling party has been ridding itself of undesirable elements bent on destabilising it and its enemies have been interpreting that as having weakened it.
Zanu-PF’s self-cleansing claimed the scalp of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and several senior officials she was working with in an onslaught to illegally unseat President Mugabe and foment chaos within the party to pave way for her takeover.
But the ruling party performed well in all the constituencies, with some results showing that its support base is actually widening.
The boycott of the by-elections by MDC-T and its leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for people not to go out and vote was largely ignored by the people.
Observers said MDC-T will now find it difficult to retain the six seats it used to hold in Harare which went to Zanu-PF, together with five others in Bulawayo which were bagged by the ruling party.
In Tsholotsho North, Matabeleland North Province, Zanu-PF candidate Professor Jonathan Moyo won back the seat in a landslide fashion, polling 11 695 votes against his rivals and independent candidates Busani Ncube (91) and Gertrude Sibanda (38).
Prof Moyo’s vote tally outstripped the combined Zanu-PF and MDC-T vote in the harmonised elections of July 31 2013, and the turnout, the highest for the by-elections, also topped that scored in 2013.
The Tsholotsho North numbers proved that Mr Tsvangirai’s campaign for voters to spoil ballots had fallen on deaf ears.
Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairperson Cde Richard Moyo said the party welcomed the victory and promised to deliver on electoral promises.
“We are happy as Matabeleland North that Prof Moyo has won the seat. We had lost the seat in 2013 in ways that could not be understood, but the people of Tsholotsho have corrected that mistake.
“What is left now is to deliver the promises made to the people during campaigns. The people of Tsholotsho face many problems including water shortages, human-animal conflict and drought.
“The party will assist Prof Moyo in attending to those issues.”
On Wednesday, soon after casting his vote at Mlevu Primary School, Prof Moyo said he felt liberated from the 2013 disaster.
“This has been a blessing in disguise, it has been if, you will, if you’re a person of faith, an act of God to correct what went horriblly wrong in the general election in 2013 when the MDC-T smuggled itself into the constituency, brought someone who had neither interest nor capacity to represent this constituency, who spent 20 months in Parliament mum with no word but collecting a monthly salary, getting a new car at the expense of the constituency,” said Prof Moyo.
In Harare East, Cde Terence Mukupe won the by-election with 4 605 votes out of 5 618 which were cast.
He beat Mr Dore Dale of Transform Zimbabwe who got 681 votes and independents Mr Kuveya Farai (135) and Mr Misheck Zacharia Mushawatu (115).
Cde Mukupe said he will work towards fulfilling his election promises.
“First and foremost, the massive vote is an indication of democracy at play and that the people have been given a chance to elect a representative of their choice,” he said.
“We have managed to take back the constituency from a party that benefited from a protest vote. We are going to fulfil what we started and show that we have the people at heart.”
In Dzivarasekwa, Cde Omega Hungwe of Zanu-PF won with 3 116 votes followed by independent candidates Saul Tore (253) and Tonderai Karimakwenda (239).
Other contestants fared as follows: Cosmas Benjamin (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) 38, Ngonidzashe Chandiwana (Transform Zimbabwe) 178, Happison Chikova (African Democratic Party) 44, Washington Measure (DARE) 16, Enock Mafigu (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn) 31 and, Peter Mukuchamano (NCA) 28.
Cde Hungwe said: “We have to create our own jobs and this means the home industries that we have should be resuscitated. I will also spearhead road rehabilitation projects.”
In Kuwadzana, Cde Betty Nhambu polled 3 480 votes, Ephraim Muza (DARE) 38, Peter Svinurai (Free Zimbabwe Congress) 142, Grant Tabvurei (NCA) 46, Michael Mandikonza (Freedom Front Party) 10, Joelson Mugari (African Democratic Party) 29, Endai Mugomeza (independent) 222, Simon Musandu (Transform Zimbabwe) 26, Boniface Gwishiri (independent) 113, Joseph Chimbawanga (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) 30, Gemellah Chuma (PIMZ) 41 and Milton Mukuwa (Mavambo Kusile Dawn) 32.
Said Cde Nhambu: “I thank the party for giving me an opportunity to stand and bring the seat back. Also appreciated is President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe for supporting young women like me.”
Zanu-PF’s Cde Tinashe Maduza won the Kambuzuma seat after amassing 2 712 votes, while Rungerai Tapoka of Freedom Front Party got 14 votes, Obey Chiwara of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn polled 50, Nyasha Solomon Makwati of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe got 231, John Elfigio Muzhazhe of Transform Zimbabwe got 31 and Tapera David Mabuwa an independent candidate got 51.
Other contestants were Pedzisayi Nheta (independent) 158 votes, Taungana Madhino (independent) 65 and Tendai Morris Makoni (independent) 153 votes.
Cde Maduza said while he would work for everyone, his man focus would be the youths and women.
Cde Psychology Maziwisa was declared winner in Highfield West with 2 254 votes.
Independent candidate Emmanuel Dzumbunu got 230 votes, Kudakwashe Makuwe (Transform Zimbabwe) polled 146 votes Brian Shamu (DARE) 56 votes, Pswarayi Tashinga (independent) 52 votes, Kudzai Saruwaka (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn) 48 votes.
Onita Muchena (PIMZ) 29 votes, Godfrey Jena (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) 27 votes and Shadreck Nyanganya (Freedom Front Party) 10 votes.
In Glen View South, Zanu-PF’s Cde Pius Madzinga was declared the winner with 1 396 votes against Mr Moses Nkomo of Transform Zimbabwe (64), Mr Reginald Musika of DARE (55), Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn’s Steven Sibanda (11), NCA’s Edwin Sithole (93) and independents Tafirenyika Chipato (20), Donald Chimatira (349), Michael Chivandire (580) and Bibiana Musinami (30).
In Hurungwe West, Mashonaland West province, Cde Keith Guzah romped to victory after garnering 5 961 votes against independent candidate Mr Temba Mliswa’s 4 239 votes.
Cde Guzah said: “The outcome of the elections is representative of what is happening in Hurungwe West constituency. We are happy as Zanu-PF that we have managed to maintain the seat.
“It is very clear that from the last elections in 2013, the MDC-T has maintained their 4 000 votes which is what Mliswa managed to get. It was a very fair election.”
Zanu-PF supporters broke into song and dance when presiding officer Mr Taona Pfunye declared Cde Guzah the winner at Matau Primary School.
Mr Mliswa’s agent Mr Prosper Gavanga said he lost due to intimidation and an uneven playing field.
In Dangamvura-Chikanga in Manicaland, Cde Isau Mupfumi polled 6 376 votes to beat seven other candidates.
Mr Pfugamai Mawire (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn) polled 254 votes, Mr Ruramayi Musiiwa (NCA) (1 003 votes), Mr Piwai Gashirai (Freedom Party) 125 votes, Mr Chengetai Richard Kadzere (independent) 192 votes, Mr James Mundenda (independent) 144 votes and, Mr Kuziva Maundike (independent) 707 votes.
Transform Zimbabwe’s Mr Maxwell Teedzai polled a paltry 32 votes.
An elated Cde Mupfumi said: “As a servant of the people, I will continue having my presence in the constituency because there is a lot of work to be done. The constituency had been neglected for a long time because from 2000 there is nothing much to show.
“In all my programmes, I will involve people in the constituency because I am their servant.”
In Headlands, Manicaland province, Cde Christopher Chingosho polled 11 104 votes against his rivals Mr David Mukunda of the NCA (117 votes) and independent candidate Mr Albert Mukaratirwa (897).
Cde Chingosho committed himself to the correction of all the wrongs done by his predecessor and former Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Mr Didymus Mutasa, who was expelled from the party for working to illegally remove President Mugabe.
“Headlands had over the years suffered from stunt growth, with violence and lack of critical social service delivery being the order of the day,” he said.
“My tenure in office will result in the construction of more schools and clinics as well as a constituency office since Mutasa had turned his house in Makoni Central into a constituency office.”
In Mbizo constituency in Kwekwe, Midlands province, Zanu-PF candidate Cde Vongaishe Mupereri polled 4 269 votes against his closest rival and independent Mr Onismo Zvavairo who managed 2 489 votes and Transform Zimbabwe candidate Mr Innocent Madziva who garnered 87 votes only.
Cde Mupereri said he will continue with the development work he commenced before the elections.
“Zanu-PF is back and is back with a bang,” he said. “I am very happy the people saw that opposition parties had nothing to offer.
“They saw that Zanu-PF is the party of choice which has the people at heart.”
In Bulawayo, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube polled 1 667 votes to claim Makokoba, while his nearest rival Sibangilizwe Msipa polled 265 votes.
Other candidates were Jonathan Ndlovu (164 votes), Joan Dlodlo (31 votes), Marbel Ngwenya (two votes), Sehlelo Nkomo (24 votes) and Wilson Harry Peter (21 votes).
In Mpopoma, Zanu-PF’s Cde Joseph Tshuma got 2 050 votes, with Strike Mkandla of Zapu polling 726 votes. Sokhaya Mabhena of the National Constitutional Assembly got 14 votes, while Andrea Banda of Transform Zimbabwe polled 67 votes, Vusumuzi Mabhikwa 61 votes and George Mkwena 109 votes.
Zanu-PF’s Cde Maidei Mpala claimed the Lobengula seat with 1 976 votes, Casper Sibanda of Zapu 492 votes. Former MDC-T MP Njabuliso Mguni, who was standing as an independent managed 301 votes and Jane Mbewe 51 votes.
In Luveve, Cde Ntandoyenkosi Mlilo of Zanu-PF garnered 1 765 votes against Nyamambi Amon Dube of Zapu (562), with Mkhululi Nyathi getting 522 votes, Thubelihle Sibanda (199), Fanuel Tshuma of Transform Zimbabwe (35), Morgan Ntuli of National Constitutional Assembly (28) and Willias Dube (120).
In Pumula, Cde Godfrey Malaba of Zanu-PF polled 2 477 votes, while Albert Mhlanga, a former Member of Parliament who stood as an independent, managed 134 votes and Michael Bathandi Mpofu of Zapu (777), Morrison Maluso of Transform Zimbabwe (73), Jackson Lunga (23), Misheck Ncube (89) and Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu (24).