…As by-elections set for 2022 first quarter
…Winner to set tone for 2023
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the leader of MDC-T Douglas Mwonzora have a litmus test to prove their worth and popularity during the by-elections set for the first quarter (January – April) next year, ahead of 2023 harmonized elections.
Mwonzora and ED allegedly went into an unholy alliance which saw the former given unfettered powers to recall over 120 MPs, senators and councilors that were elected under the MDC Alliance, with Nelson Chamisa as their presidential candidate in 2018.
Addressing hordes of supporters in Chimanimani where he was officially opening the Jopa-Kopa Highway, Mnangagwa told supporters that the party was expecting to win all the 133 vacant national assembly and local authority elective seats.
“We will be holding elections during the first quarter of 2022. As Zanu PF, we want a clean sweep of all the vacant seats. This will serve as a litmus test for our preparedness in the 2023 harmonized elections,” Mnangagwa said.
By confirming that the by-elections are indeed a litmus test for Zanu PF, Mnangagwa is probably not confident to win especially considering the current economic crisis and the factions that are threatening to tear up the party.
Political analysts said the by-elections are a litmus test for both Mwonzora and Mnangagwa who are under fire for allegedly destroying the economy and waging an unholy alliance against the MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa.
Chamisa was attacked by Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo and Manicaland Provinces last month during his citizens’ convergence for change tours, which has been described as desperate attempts by the ruling party to intimidate opposition supporters come election time.
Academic and political analyst Dr Davidson Mugodzwa said although the announcement of by-elections is long overdue, the polls are likely to shock the Mwonzora outfit, while Zanu PF stands a chance in rural more than urban areas.
“The by-elections are late and the government has been hiding behind Covid-19 but now because of pressure they now say they are holding them. Indeed they are a litmus test for both Zanu PF and MDC-T.
“Mwonzora is going to be shamed by the electorate come next year. I will expect however rural areas to go to Zanu PF as they are dominated by the peasantry,” Dr Mugodzwa said.
Another political analyst Dr Wellington Gadzikwa, said the by-elections will show whether parties have support they purport to have and for Zanu PF they will likely bring out the depth of the factional fights within the party.
“The by-elections will bring out the factor of who is who, especially in Zanu PF where there are purported factional fights.
Dr Gadzikwa said the ruling party might be trying to lure the electorate in preparation of the by-elections but it may be not be received as it is leaving out a big chunk of the population.
“Zanu PF may be promising civil servants bonuses in United States dollars, as well as other benefits for war veterans, but then what happens to the ordinary electorate, where their vote lies?” Gadzikwa said.
The Mwonzora outfit has been battling an array of legitimacy issues, recently being entangled in a violent incident that involved a former Dr Thokozani Khupe aide Kudzanai Mashumba.
On the other hand, Nelson Chamisa’s recent tour seems to have reinforced his eagerness to retain his position in politics, with his recalled councilors, legislators and senators renewing their hopes for a return when by-elections come.
The electorate, especially urbanites are waiting eagerly to see how both Zanu PF and Mwonzora’s MDCT will wiggle their way out of the intensifying pressure by-elections are likely to bring.