Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
ZANU-PF has consolidated its dominance in the Midlands Province by winning the Chiwundura National Assembly by-election with a runaway margin on Saturday.
The runaway victory tallies with surveys, observations and assessments by thinktanks, academics, and political analysts, who have all tipped President Mugabe and Zanu-PF to romp to victory in the 2018 harmonised elections.
The revolutionary party’s candidate, Cde Brown Ndlovu, garnered 9 426 votes ahead of Mr Takudzwa Guzete of the NCA who received a paltry 445 votes in the by- election.
Mr Brighton Mudzviti of Free Zimbabwe Congress got 145 votes while Mr Webster Zulu of Progressive Democrats polled 118. The results were announced by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Constituency Elections Officer for Chiwundura, Mr Joshua Mhino.
“I Joshua Mhino being the Constituency Elections Officer for Chiwundura do hereby declare that I have, in accordance with the Electoral Act Chapter 2.13 Section 66 and the regulations made there under, ascertained the results of the poll for the Chiwundura by-elections.
“Takudzwa Guzete of NCA received 445 votes, Brighton Mudzviti of Free Zimbabwe Congress received 145 votes, Brown Ndlovu of Zanu-PF received 9 426 votes and Webster Zulu of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe received 118 votes.
“I therefore, declare Brown Ndlovu of Zanu-PF on this day July 16, 2017 to be duly elected member of the National Assembly for Chiwundura constituency.
“Total votes rejected were 187, total votes cast 10 321 and total valid votes cast, 10 134. “We had a voter population of 43 688 and the percentage poll is 23,6 percent,” he said.
ZEC Commissioner Mr Daniel Chigaru described the elections as peaceful and transparent. He refuted allegations by some observers from the Electoral Resource Centre that some polling stations were situated at homesteads of political activists.
Commissioner Chigaru said the homesteads suspected to be belonging to political activists were farm houses in resettlement areas that had been turned into schools.
“We are happy that throughout the whole period the contesting parties met and talked and that there were no major issues that were raised during the meetings.
“Our polling stations opened on time at 7am and closed at 7pm. “The polling was quite brisk as usual. What we would want to believe is that the results of this peaceful process that took place yesterday were because of the inter-party committee that was set up. We had 68 polling stations across the whole constituency.
“There were several people that were observing the elections and as ZEC we also had three commissioners that travelled the entire constituency.
“I am happy to announce that from the comments that were left in the polling stations, they were all satisfied in the way the polling was going on.
“It was peaceful and we would want to believe that everything was transparent,” he said. Said Commissioner Chigaru: “There were few concerns yesterday (Saturday) that some of the polling stations had been positioned in the homesteads of some political activists.
“We investigated that and we realised that what was said to be homesteads of political activists were farm houses in the resettlement areas that had been turned into schools.
“Therefore the claims were not founded.” Chiwundura MP elect, Cde Ndlovu said he was happy with the result which he said was a reflection of the confidence that people have in Zanu-PF.
Cde Ndlovu said he was going to deliver on the promises that he made during the election campaigns. He said he would also pursue and complete the projects that were left behind by his predecessor, Cde Kizito Chivamba.
“The elections were free and fair and I am happy with the result. I am going to deliver on the promises that I made to the people and ensure that the party retains the seat in the 2018 elections,” he said.
Mr Guzete and Mr Mudziti graciously conceded defeat saying the elections were free and fair. Mr Zulu had earlier chickened out but his withdrawal could not be considered as he failed to submit it within the stipulated time which is 21 days before the elections.
Zanu-PF Midlands provincial spokesperson Cde Cornelius Mpereri said the result was a foretaste of what was going to happen in the 2018 poll.
“Zanu-PF is very consistent in its behaviour in an election. We promised a victory and that is what we got. Cde Ndlovu just fit into Cde Chivamba’s shoes and he will continue with the projects that were left behind. This is a snippet of the 2018 elections,” he said.