ZANU PF snatched two parliamentary seats from the opposition in the by-elections held on Saturday, winning in Epworth and Mutasa South and also getting a foothold in urban local authorities.
Ahead of the Saturday polls, Zanu PF, which has a commanding majority in Parliament, made it clear that it aimed to fish from the opposition pond and maintain its stronghold in rural areas.
Results from the by-elections show the ruling party making incremental gains as its policies gain traction across the country.
Led by President Mnangagwa, the governing party has launched an urban renewal agenda that has seen roads being rehabilitated under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) and water challenges are being addressed, in the short term through the Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme while construction of dams will offer a long-term solution.
Title deeds are also on cards for urban dwellers.
Central Government had to step in to fill the gaping void in service delivery which was next to non-existent while officials from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) or MDC Alliance lined their pockets.
In 2018, the MDC Alliance candidates won in Epworth and Mutasa South but the same candidates were on Saturday clobbered as the Second Republic’s policies appear to be hitting the mark ahead of next year’s general elections.
Altogether there were 28 constituencies up for grabs. Zanu PF retained its seats in Gokwe Central, Chivi South, Mberengwa South, Murehwa South, Marondera East, Mwenezi East and Tsholotsho North, while the opposition won in urban areas but Binga North, however, with small margins.
In an interview yesterday Zanu PF Spokesperson Cde Chris Mutsvangwa said the ruling “kept and solidified” its traditional support in rural areas.
“The party of the Zimbabwe Revolution is most delighted that it made fresh inroads in MDC-CCC urban strongholds.
“The internecine fights of the fractious MDC-CCC formations handed Zanu PF a propitious chance to pick a few more national assembly seats and thus increase further the two thirds absolute majority in Parliament,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
In the 2018 polls, the ruling party picked 145 seats against the opposition’s 60, meaning that the revolutionary party now has 147 seats.
Apart from the two significant parliamentary seats, the revolutionary party also harvested dozens of local authority seats in what could be a harbinger of things to come in next year’s elections.
“It’s clear that two decades of MDC-CCC urban neglect, feckless maladministration, screaming corruption, and putrid decay are all finally beginning to invite the wrath of the long-suffering urban citizenry at the expense of Nelson Chamisa and his acrimonious cohorts.
“Even more reassuring is the narrowing margins in those seats Zanu PF lost. This speaks volumes of the resurgent support of the party. Zanu PF is heartily encouraged by its catch from the MDC-CCC opposition ponds.
“The electoral jury is out. Come the 2023 harmonised elections, Zanu PF envisages an electoral tsunami that will drown the foreign -spawned opposition and its reliance on alien sponsorship,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
While the ruling party made incremental gains in opposition strongholds of Harare, Mutare and Victoria Falls, the combined CCC and MDC Alliance failed to win a single ward in Zanu PF strongholds.
“There is a takeaway message for Zanu PF. The party of the Zimbabwe Revolution is recovering its urban spunk and completing its portfolio of the national socio-economic and political appeal.”
He also praised the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for remaining focused and hardworking notwithstanding needless distractions from some quarters.
“Zimbabwe democracy once more proved its home-grown mettle. Perhaps to the shame of the meddlesome West now preoccupied with the military imbroglio in Ukraine.”
The incremental gains, Cde Mutsvangwa said, demonstrate that President Mnangagwa’s message has found an audience among the urban populace.
“President ED Mnangagwa has a reason for a measure of smugness. His hopeful message of urban renewal is hitting the tuneful chords in our towns and cities. The urban appeal of the mantra “Zimbabwe Is Open for Business” is energising entrepreneurial flair. The electorate sees President ED on a spree of ribbon cutting of revived factories and their expanded production lines.
“President ED is hopping from one groundbreaking ceremony to another as major infrastructure projects open up to global class investment in oil and gas drilling in Muzarabani, iron and steel ecosystem in Mvuma-Chivhu-Manhize, ferrochrome in Selous, coking coal in Hwange, Platinum group metals on the Great Dyke and lithium deposits in Goromonzi and Buhera.
“The resultant infrastructure dividend is seeing ‘yellow metal’ earthmoving equipment in frenetic activity. The whole landscape has been converted into a huge construction site.”
Turning to the CCC’s celebrations, Cde Mutsvangwa said the Nelson Chamisa-led outfit is celebrating a consolation prize.
“Nelson Chamisa, true to pettiness is gloatful at his showdown with (MDC Alliance leader Douglas) Mwonzora. He is celebrating the win of this consolation prize. Indeed, a paradox underscoring the vindication of the undisputed ascendancy of Zanu PF on the Zimbabwe political stage.
“He conveniently misses the point that the same election process that awards him the self-adulatory win against his MDC-CCC adversaries is the one that equally lands him a drubbing. Yet he has the temerity to disparage ZEC each time he opens his lips. All because the sulking and right-wing fringe political elements in post-imperial London and Washington are bent on never reconciling with independent and assertive Zimbabwe.
“A final remarkable feature is the electoral ‘wash out’ margin loss of the MDC-CCC in the historical rural bastions of Zanu PF.
“This forebodes a dark cloud for Chamisa in his superficial aspirations for apex national leadership. The by-elections clearly indicated diminishing appeal.
“There is a movement of a swelling rural vote and a gathering urban appeal for President Mnangagwa. Then there is apathy and confusion on the part of the core of MDC supporters whose party has been killed by a nondescript CCC.
“National plebiscites subsist on a game of numbers. President EDM looks like a rider on an unstoppable winning streak come 2023.”