Walter Mswazie and Africa Moyo
Zanu-PF snatched a ward from the MDC-Alliance in Nyanga and retained another in Bikita by considerable margins in by-elections held over the weekend, underlying the ruling party’s dominance in local politics.
The revolutionary party’s victory in Nyanga’s Ward 26 was even sweeter, as Zanu-PF wrestled the seat from MDC- Alliance, which had won it in last year’s harmonised polls.
Zanu-PF candidate Cde Bisset Mapeta won the poll with 397 votes against MDC Alliance candidate Mr Vincent Bopoto’s 236.
In Bikita’s Ward 31, Zanu-PF candidate Cde Thomas Matanga garnered 1 112 votes against Mr Moses Maphosa of MDC-Alliance’s 410 votes, while Mr Peter Mavenga of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) came third with a paltry 23 votes.
The Bikita by-election, which saw 1 551 ballots being cast, followed the death of incumbent Zanu-PF councillor Cde Patrick Marozhe on April 15.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission provincial elections officer for Manicaland Mr Moffat Masabeya confirmed Zanu-PF’s win in the Nyanga RDC poll yesterday.
“The one who won is Bisset Mapeta of Zanu-PF with 397, then Vincent Bopoto of MDC-Alliance got 236. There were only two parties that contested,” he said. “The ward had previously been won by Mr (Elias) Mashumba of MDC-Alliance.”
Mr Mashumba died on April 16 this year at Bonda Mission in Mutasa Central after a short illness.
MDC-Alliance’s failure to retain the Nyanga RDC seat follows the party’s loss in the Bulawayo Ward 28 seat, again to Zanu-PF’s Cde Kidwell Majuru earlier in the year which they controlled.
Zanu-PF national spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said they were satisfied with the party’s performance in the two by-elections.
“The results did not come as a surprise as they confirmed the trouncing victory the party expected,” he said. “The winning trend since the Cowdry Park municipal by-election in Bulawayo stands as the barometer for future polls and the writing is on the wall that the party is well set in pole position ahead of the 2023 national polls.
“It is evident that whilst the opposition MDC-A in all its manifestations continues on its disruptive path in which it calls for demonstrations, stay-aways and unconstitutional removal of a constitutionally elected Government has become the order of the day, Zanu-PF policies underpinned by fruitful economic, political, constitutional and legislative reforms are selling well to the electorate.”
Cde Khaya Moyo said Zanu-PF was equally pleased with the peaceful environment that characterised the by-elections, and saluted the people of Bikita East and Nyanga South constituencies for their “political maturity demonstrated during the election period”.
“The party specially commends the ZEC for the professional manner in which they conducted the by-elections,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
Zanu-PF provincial information and publicity secretary for Masvingo Cde Ronald Ndaba said the victory was expected.
“In Masvingo province as a whole, save for the urban centre, Zanu-PF is dominant and we cannot afford to lose any seat,” he said. “The opposition should just know that the province is no go area, especially in the rural areas as our people appreciate what the party has done and is still doing for them.
“Next time, I urge opposition parties not to waste their resources by campaigning in Masvingo’s rural areas as they literally belong to Zanu-PF. We congratulate the winner, Cde Matanga, and urge him to add value to Bikita Rural District Council, to which he will be answerable as a councillor.”
The ecstatic councillor designate, Cde Matanga said; “Zanu-PF is the people’s party and all opposition parties should know that,” he said.
“I am happy that the elections were held under a peaceful environment and those who lost did that peacefully without any problem. It is time for me to concentrate on development as the by-election is now behind us.”