Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ZANU-PF recorded an outright victory in the Tsholotsho Rural District Council by-elections held at the weekend as the ruling party continues to flex its political muscle and dominance in Matabeleland North.
The ruling party once again proved its popularity in the largely rural province when it retained council seats in Tsholotsho Rural District Council’s Ward 16 and 20.
In Ward 20 Zanu PF candidate Cde Tshoni Mkandla polled 414 votes beating MDC Alliance’s Mr Mazithulela Khupe who came a distant second with a paltry 21 votes.
In Tsholotsho’s Ward 16, Zanu-PF’s Cde Isaac Moyo polled 623 votes to beat his rival Mr Soul Ncube from the opposition MDC Alliance who got 147 votes.
The party also won a council by-election held on the same day in Wedza, Mashonaland East.
The ruling party’s Matabeleland North chairperson, Cde Richard Moyo, commended the party leadership in the province, saying the victory was a show of confidence in President Mnangagwa’s leadership.
“Our victory in the two wards in Tsholotsho is a clear sign that the electorate still has confidence in our President and the party despite the economic challenges in the country. However, we would like to assure our people that the Zanu-PF led Government is people oriented and we are in the process of addressing the challenges facing the nation,” he said.
MDC Alliance’s Matabeleland North provincial deputy chairperson Mr Jabulani Hadebe accused the ruling party of unsubstantiated allegations of vote buying and intimidation.
The Tsholotsho by-elections were called after Zanu-PF expelled the sitting councillors on charges of embezzling Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) funds.
Matabeleland North Provincial Elections Officer Mr Mark Ndlovu said the by elections in the two Tsholotsho council wards were conducted in a peaceful manner.
The latest victory for Zanu-PF in by-elections held post the 2018 harmonised elections, comes barely three months after the ruling party retained the Mangwe, Lupane East National Assembly seats, two wards in Bubi and Nkayi districts and Masvingo North Ward 1 council seat.
The ruling party has also won in Nyanga, Bikita, Bulawayo and Masvingo, with MDC Alliance managing to win only the recently held Glen View South National Assembly by-election. — @mashnets