Review and Mail Writer
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently announced that Citizens Coalition for Change candidates won the majority of the seats which were contested in Saturday’s by-elections in different wards across the country.
According to ZEC, the newly formed political outfit won seven of the eight seats which were contested for whilst ZANU-PF won in Mt Darwin.
The by-elections were held in Chitungwiza, Makoni, Mutare, Kariba and Mt Darwin.
Writing on his twitter, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa celebrated his party’s victory in the just ended by-elections and thanked his supporters for throwing their weight behind the CCC.
“Fellow Citizens, congratulations for the CCC 7/8 wards landslide victory in yesterday’s by-elections, against all odds and because of you citizens. Thank you for continuing to solidly support, mobilize and vote for change. Be part of the victorious forces. Join now and support change,” said Chamisa.
Analysts however argue that despite the victories that the CCC has claimed in this by-elections, a huge task still lies ahead of Chamisa and that is to penetrate the rural areas.
Analyst Rejoice Ngwenya believes that as much as the CCC has scored some successes since the March 26, the opposition party should not however get too excited as they still have a huge task before they face off against ZANU-PF in next year’s elections.
“By-elections in Zimbabwe are not necessarily representative of the electoral pulse, nobody takes them seriously. However, it is an indicator-much like a dipstick survey of the general electoral preference. It’s not worth celebrating,” said Ngwenya.
Another analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri argued that as much as the CCC is excited about their victories in the by-elections, the party should however keep its feet on the ground, encourage people to vote and demand accountability from ZEC before the 2023 elections.
“The by-elections are showing that the CCC has numbers on the ground, are those numbers enough to win a free 2023 election? The bigger question is whether the party can get out people to go and vote starting with a voter registration drive. The party clearly has to keep investing in scrutinizing the voters’ roll and demanding accountability from ZEC on the voters’ roll and other areas were concerns were picked. There is a lot of work to be done and there is also a cause to be hopeful and excited about 2023 for the CCC,” Mutandiri said.
Dr Gift Gwindingwe weighed in and said that the by-elections held so far symbolize that that nothing is going to change as ZANU-PF is likely to maintain its dominance is next year’s harmonised elections.
“I don’t think there is nothing to celebrate here, considering that it is the usual that has happened.
CCC has just regained its usual seats in these by-elections so there is nothing much to celebrate. It actually symbolizes that things might not change; it’s going to be a change without change where we see the CCC gaining its usual seats. When it comes to next year’s harmonised elections, it also means ZANU-PF will also retain its seats. Most of these seats won by the CCC in these elections have got an urban influence and this has been usual and you don’t get surprised to note that the sun is rising from the east,” said Dr Gwindingwe.
ZANU-PF remains unshaken by the opposition, and despite the fewer takes in the by-elections which have been held so far, it still maintains its dominance in the rural areas and unfortunately the opposition is failing to penetrate this rural vote.
There were incidences of violent clashes between CCC and ZANU-PF members during the campaigning period in Chitungwiza which resulted in the hospitalization of some CCC supporters including the former mayor Lovemore Maiko.
On the other hand, Maiko is hoping that his victory in Chitungwiza municipality will give him another chance to reclaim the Mayorship of the dormitory town.
With only a few months remaining before the 2023 harmonised elections, Chamisa switched his focus to the rural areas where his party launched a massive campaign in the hope of increasing the share of his party’s fortunes by winning the rural vote and wrestle power from ZANU-PF.