Zanu-PF has reasserted its strength and organisational capability after winning a whole constituency unopposed and at least four wards in Matabeleland South unopposed on Thursday.
The nomination court sat in Harare and at various provincial and district centres on Thursday with hundreds of people filing their papers to stand in the eagerly-awaited July 30 elections.
A record 23 presidential aspirants, headlined by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, filed their papers successfully in Harare while those wishing to serve as senators, members of parliament and councillors registered at 10 provincial centres and dozens district centres.
Zanu-PF demonstrated that it is the only party with a national pedigree after its representatives filed papers for all elective posts.
MDC Alliance, in disarray over sharing of seats and poor organisation, did send representatives in many areas, but, according to reports in the weekend press, failed to do so in all. For this reason, Zanu-PF won four wards in Matabeleland South at the nomination court.
The biggest trophy for now, however, is Insiza North constituency in the same province where, it was reported, Cde Farai Taruvinga was the only person to successfully file his nomination papers.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) Matabeleland South provincial elections officer, Mr Rabson Nyoni officially announced that four ruling party candidates would be officially declared duly elected councillors with effect from July 30. Mr Nyoni did not speak on Insiza North but Cde
Taruvinga thinks he was the only one who submitted papers for that constituency which would mean he sails to the House unopposed.
Cde Sibongile Chauke was unopposed in the Beitbridge Rural District Council’s Ward 13. In Matobo North constituency Cdes Tobias Sibanda, Thomas Ncube and Paul Ncube cruised uncontested in wards 22, 23 and 24.
Cde Taruvinga told our sister paper Sunday News yesterday:
“We have already begun meeting our obligations as a party. It is all evident in our work, the people are happy and thus we are confident they will make the right choice when the time to vote comes. They (MDC) fumbled a lot and couldn’t field a candidate. Their factionalism fights show that they are not united and this is why they even failed to have a candidate contesting. Even in their presence I know and I felt no threat, as I know that the people of our constituency will rally behind us. Now is the time to work and rebuild our country, together we can, divided we fall.”
Zec released the final voters’ roll on Friday. The document shows that the country has 5,6 million people registered to vote.
Prior to Friday, Zec statistics indicated that about 70 percent of the registered voters reside in rural areas, where Zanu-PF is traditionally strong politically.
It is critical for us to state that verification is still ongoing in Insiza North to confirm Cde Taruvinga’s position and in other constituencies across the country, but there is likelihood that many more Zanu-PF members could have won unopposed, particularly at ward level in the party’s other strongholds such as Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Mashonaland West.
As we await the release by Zec of the full list of candidates for the July elections, we take the uncontested victories of the five Matabeleland South cadres as a very clear statement of the credentials of the ruling party.
It is the only party that is, so to speak, everywhere across the country.
At the same time, the development exposes the weaknesses of the MDC Alliance and its opposition peers. MDC Alliance wants to portray itself as a worthy competitor against Zanu-PF; it touts itself as a national party to be taken seriously. However, its failure to field candidates in the five Matabeleland South seats must be deeply embarrassing for them.
What will prevent the ruling party from building upon this early lead to romp to victory on July 30 when its rivals are so thin on the ground as to fail to raise representatives in a whole constituency?
Zanu-PF begins every election season as favourites to win but now, in addition to that history, they have just won for themselves a psychological boost, something they need to secure yet another five-year mandate come July 30.
While the early lead is indeed uplifting for Zanu-PF, they are advised to continue working hard. It is clear that the party is getting into gear now after the proclamation of the election date a few weeks ago and the sitting of the nomination court on Thursday.
In the next few weeks we should see its mass mobilisation machinery, riding on what the party’s national commissar Cde Engelbert Rugeje has named a spider-web campaign strategy, out in full force.
A huge campaign that speaks to the aspirations of the electorate will ensure that the five seats already in the bag will be a tonic for a comprehensive Zanu-PF victory on July 30.