Let’s capitalise on opposition confusion: VP Chiwenga Vice President Constantino Chiwenga greets Zanu PF party supporters on his arrival at a rally in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo yesterday. - Picture: Obey Sibanda.

Bulawayo Bureau

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga says Zanu PF will capitalise on the confusion within the opposition ranks to clinch a resounding victory in the by-elections slated for this weekend.

Describing the opportunity as “manna from heaven”, he told thousands of party supporters yesterday at a rally in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb that the infighting within the main opposition has put the ruling party in a prime position to win the election.

Cowdray Park is the biggest and fastest-growing constituency in the city and the imminent victory of Zanu PF will be a big win for its residents in terms of development, said Dr Chiwenga, who was drumming up support for the party’s National Assembly candidate Cde Arthur Mujeyi, and council representative for Ward Six, Cde Kidwell Mujuru.

“You saw for yourselves what was done in this area by the former candidate in the August elections,” he said. 

“Cowdray Park has one of the best roads in this city, the Government also managed to construct a state-of-the-art clinic here where we also availed an ambulance. We have not stopped there, another ambulance will be coming to service your area.” 

Dr Chiwenga said there will be further development if voters usher into office Zanu-PF candidates, Cde Mujeyi and Cde Mujuru, on Saturday.

“The by-elections are upon us, we have a confused opposition, which is fighting among itself,” he said. “These elections are like a penalty in a game of football, let us seize this huge chance and bury the opposition, this is manna for us, so we need to go out in droves on Saturday and vote Cde Mujeyi to Parliament and Cde Mujuru to council chambers.” 

Cowdray Park, with a population of 75 000 as per the 2022 population census result, has one secondary school with an enrolment of 2 500 learners, resulting in the institution becoming a three-in-one school. A three-in-one school is an education institution with a pupil population that can be accommodated in three schools yet learn in one school due to shortages.

Ordinarily, there should be a school within 500 household radius but this is not the case as the population continues to outweigh service delivery.

Dr Chiwenga said the Second Republic was fully aware of education challenges in the constituency hence its commitment to construct more secondary schools to ease the problem.

“Cowdray Park is a very big suburb yet it has only one secondary school, which sees our children walking long distances to attend school from the one secondary school here,” he said. 

“We are going to take care of that by building more secondary schools here. This is not mere talk but something we will do because we are not just a talking leadership, we speak what we do.”

The Vice President said several plans were underway to further transform Cowdray Park and vowed that the Government will continue to develop the whole of Bulawayo, which has been degraded under the opposition councillors.

“I don’t want to say much, but surely why we vote into office Selous Scouts, the very people who brutalised us. Please let us be wise, Zanu PF is not going anywhere, this party will rule until hameno (for a long time), so I am asking you to go in large numbers and vote,” he said.

Also in attendance at the rally was the party national political commissar Dr Mike Bimha, Politburo members Cde Tshinga Dube, Cde Elifasi Mashaba, Cde Molly Mpofu, deputy political commissar Cde Webster Shamu, Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube, as well as Bulawayo provincial chairperson Cde Jabulani Sibanda.

The by-elections were necessitated by the recall of CCC candidates by the party’s interim secretary-general Mr Sengezo Tshabangu.

Mr Tshabangu, disgruntled over how the party conducted its selection process for candidates in preparation for the August 23 harmonised elections, recalled 15 legislators of which nine were constituency holders while the other six had gone in through the proportional representation criteria. 

He has also recalled a total of 69 councillors from 15 local authorities.

The state of confusion in the opposition resulted in them fielding double candidates in all constituencies to be contested for except in the Mabvuku-Tafara constituency in Harare.

The Cowdray Park constituency is one of five constituencies in the city that will have by-elections, with the other being Nketa where Zanu PF will be represented by Cde Albert Mavunga, Lobengula-Magwegwe where Cde Menziwe Dube will stand for the party, Bulawayo South where former Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Cde Raj Modi went in unopposed.

The last constituency is Mpopoma-Mzilikazi with Zanu PF set to be represented by Cde Dzingai Kamamba.

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