From George Maponga in Masvingo
All is set for the Zaka East parliamentary by-election today, with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission(ZEC) yesterday saying it was all systems go for the plebiscite. The by-election will be held to fill a vacancy left following the death of Zanu-PF legislator Caston Gumbwanda due to illness on June 23, this year.
Four candidates will slug it out in today’s polls, with businessman Cde Clemence Chiduwa representing the revolutionary party ZANU-PF, while the MDC-Alliance will be represented by Masvingo lawyer Mr Derick Charamba.
Mr Clemence Chavarika (NCA) and Mr Lazarus Mubango (Free Zimbabwe Congress Party) complete the cast of contesting candidates.
ZEC Masvingo provincial elections officer Mr Zex Zirabada Pudurai said everything was in place for the polls.
The constituency has 15 934 registered voters. Mr Pudurai said voting kicks off at 7am and ends at7pm. Deployment of polling officers was completed on Thursday.
The constituency command centre will be stationed at Rudhanda Primary School.
“Everything is in place for the elections tomorrow (today), and we are happy that a very peaceful environment has been prevailing in the run up to the voting day. We have not received any reports of violence or any disturbances, so it is all systems go,’’ said Mr Pudurai.
“There will be 38 polling stations across the constituency, and today (yesterday) we were busy doing rehearsals ahead of kicking off of voting.’’
Mr Pudurai said a nominal voter’s roll has been on display outside all polling stations since Thursday to enable those who will vote to see if their names are in.
He said they have trained presiding officers, ward election officers together with polling officers and election agents.
This will be the first parliamentary by-election to be held in Masvingo Province after the 2018 harmonised elections.
Meanwhile, Yeukai Tazira and Sydney Mubaiwa report that both ZANU-PF and the MDC-Alliance are confident of winning the seat. On Thursday, ZANU-PF National Political Commissar Cde Victor Matemadanda said they were already preparing a victory celebration party.
“As for Zaka East, we are winning the seat. Come Saturday (today), we are reclaiming our seat. I am actually in Masvingo and a lot is going on in as far as the preparations for Saturday are concerned,” said Cde Matemadanda
“People have already started preparing for celebrations on our Saturday triumph. The people’s party should be prepared for yet another victory lap because we are convinced that we are taking the seat.”
The opposition MDC-Alliance held two poorly attended rallies addressed by senior party officials at Svuure and Zibwowa business centres. MDC-Alliance national organising secretary Mr Amos Chibaya headlined the rallies.
“We are going to erect boosters as well as sinking boreholes and grading roads to bring better service delivery to our people.
“Let’s rally behind our candidate Mr Charamba. This time we are sure that the party is going to claim a rural seat in Masvingo,” said Mr Chibaya.
Zanu-PF has won National Assembly seats in by-elections held in Lupane East, and Mangwe, as voters continue to reject the Western-sponsored project.
It has also won ward by-elections in Nyanga, Bikita, Masvingo and Bulawayo, with the MDC-Alliance bagging the Glen View National Assembly seat recently.