On 25 July at a big campaign rally at Mucheke Stadium, President Mugabe spoke of his wish for a one-party Masvingo province. Six days later, his wish was granted when Zanu-PF made a clean sweep of all National Assembly seats in the harmonised elections in the province. Prior to the election, MDC-T had 14 of the 26 seats, with Zanu-PF holding 12.
Mr Joel Mukusha, a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) in Masvingo, said MDC-T had nothing new to offer the people apart from their usual rhetoric of just opposing for the sake of opposing.
He said there is no reason for MDC-T to complain of irregularities as they were part of the system that organised the elections. He underscored the need for the MDC-T to listen to the voice of reason and accept defeat and let the country move on.
“I think it is naïve for MDC-T to cry foul over a system they were part of. They have lost this election fairly and under a free environment,” he said.
What MDC-T should do is to go back to the drawing board and find out what hit them.
The party should restrategise for the next elections . The tendency of complaining and accusing Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) alleging that there were irregularities does not give them any dividend at all. They have been beaten very clean and the only honourable thing to do is to carry out a postmortem. This will help them to restrategise for the next election due in 2018,” he said.
The revolutionary party won all the 26 National Assembly seats in a province which, for some time, had been under the MDC-T. The dismal loss of MDC-T in Masvingo and country at large, has given Mr Morgan Tsvangirai-led party a reminder that people of Zimbabwe cannot be taken for granted. The revolutionary party romped to victory in nine provinces thereby ensuring a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. For the presidency, Cde Mugabe got a fresh mandate to lead the country for another five year term.
Mr Mukusha said MDC-T has been let down by its leadership which does not have the correct economic focus, hence coming up with an “alien” manifesto.
“The MDC-T manifesto does not fit in the Zimbabwe context as it is littered with borrowed foreign policies. Zanu-PF policies are homegrown and just merely going through their manifesto, one is convinced that they were geared for this election.
MDC-T could have seen it coming and challenging the outcome in the courts now is a waste of time,” he said, adding that the MDC-T loss was also a wake-up call for their handlers as well. Zanu-PF won 160 out of the 210 elective seats in the National Assembly with President Mugabe winning 61 percent of the total votes cast.
Zanu- PF’s total membership in the National Assembly increased to 197 with the addition of members elected through proportional representation for the women’s quota. By winning 160 seats, plus 37 via proportional representation, the revolutionary party surpassed the two thirds majority required to amend the Constitution.
A Masvingo lawyer, Mr Martin Mureri, said MDC-T must not waste time disputing an election it lost cleanly, but should instead focus on the future. “There are a number of reasons why the party lost elections. It is time for them to go back to the drawing board,” he said.
Mr Garikai Sithole, son to the late Zanu Ndonga president, Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, said MDC-T lost in the province because the party failed to do their homework. “MDC-T seems not to have done their homework properly. Their campaign strategy of using a faceless blogger, Baba Jukwa, did not work in their favour.
They should have talked to the people not spend time depending on Baba Jukwa who is not even known,” he said.
Masvingo Province, he said, has returned to its rightful place by resoundingly voting for Zanu-PF.
“This is poetic justice and I knew that MDC-T would lose this election. The blunder they made was to befriend our oppressors and that is what has betrayed them. People of Masvingo have come of age and really know where their bread is buttered. I do not even pity their loss because they do not have the interest of Zimbabwe people at heart,” said Mr Sithole.
He said MDC-T was against nationalistic and people-friendly policies like the indigenisation and empowerment programme.
“We should be able to decide on our destiny and not to remain subservient to white supremacists. This is the most undoing route which has condemned Mr Tsvangirai and his party to the wayside. If he is not careful, his party might be history here in Masvingo and all corners of the country,” he said.
Zanu-PF provincial chairman and new Gutu Central National Assembly member, Cde Lovemore Matuke said: “Our President and First Secretary Cde Robert Mugabe called on the people to vote resoundingly and they heeded his call. It is now back to a one-party province like in the days of the late Vice-President Dr [Simon] Muzenda,” he said.
“It is Zanu-PF which brought Independence in Masvingo and the country at large. We have the right to democratically reclaim what is ours. We have regained our seats and when they were taken by the MDC-T, we knew that it was going to be temporary,” he said.
Cde Matuke, who is also the Zanu-PF provincial chairman, said people of Masvingo have realised that MDC-T was taking them for a ride, which is why they dumped the British-backed party.
“Many people in this province take pride in the revolutionary party’s policies especially indigenisation and empowerment programmes. MDC-T has nothing to offer to the people apart from opposing. Their manifesto is vague and cannot be compared with that of Zanu-PF. By voting for Zanu-PF, the people of Masvingo have made a wise decision. We promise that Masvingo won’t be the same again now that we are controlling every constituency. People need community share ownership trusts that we have introduced because that would ensure development in many communities,” he said.
Outgoing MDC-T MP for Masvingo Central Mr Tongai Matutu has not yet come to terms with his loss to Dr Daniel Shumba. He claimed that the election in the constituency was “fraught with irregularities” and threatened to challenge the result in court, some two weeks after the results were announced.“I will definitely seek legal recourse because my opponent rigged the elections. There were some people who came from outside the constituency and I wonder if they are on the voters roll. I would file my court papers,” he said. A clergyman, Pastor Munyaradzi Chidarikire, said God has a plan for Masvingo. “Everything done by God is done for a purpose. People of Masvingo voted for Zanu-PF because God wanted it to be like that.”