By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
Previously, I have stated in one of my articles, the March 2022 by election will be used as a barometer for 2023 polls by both ruling Zanu PF and opposition political outfits. They wanted to ascertain the performance of Nelson Chamisa, whether he poses a serious threat to the ruling party. This gives them room to make future plans, adjustments or proper calculations in the forth coming general election.
In 2023, I don’t see much changes at parliamentary and local government elections, unless both parties CCC and Zanu PF work extra hard. On presidential, it will be a battle plus for the ruling party, and looking at the variance around the issue of candidature, young people are likely to play a critical role ahead of 2023 debacle. The game changer will be focused more on young people, and which ever party presents a solid plan for young people is likely to be significant particularly on the presidential vote.
Looking at the numbers, there is no much difference, CCC remains in control of urban areas, and ruling Zanu PF remains dominant in rural areas. The battle will be centred on Presidency which has a lot of factors and variances. What has simply happened is that the opposition support base has been simply transferred from MDC Alliance to the newly political outfit, CCC, which is two months old. It is the norm that when there is a by election, Zanu PF wins either Epworth, Harare East or have some picks in urban areas. This time around, they only managed to pick only two, Mutasa South and Epworth constituency.
The by election was characterized by voter apathy, and low turn out , with many people giving various reasons.
Do huge crowds reflect the ballot? That is the biggest question around the dramatic monologue entangled around polls. What could have happened in either Tsholotsho or Epworth? We saw huge crowds in Binga, were the Vice President, Cde Chiwenga dished out bicycles , and later the opposition regained the seat. There was a huge turnout in Zanu PF Chitungwiza rally, and the seat was reclaimed by opposition CCC.
From my own point of view, the major battle will be on Presidency, which the ruling party has to work extra hard, to face the youthful candidate, Nelson Chamisa. I don’t see much difference on parliamentary level, unless the opposition works extra hard. On local Government polls, the opposition is likely to claim a big lion share, followed by the ruling party in most rural councils.
The battle will be more on Presidency, which will be centred more ” candidature”, or evolved around the candidate of each respective party. When voting for a presidential hopeful or aspirant, voters focus more on candidature, or the character of an individual, whether he is fit or not for a specific office. Voters pay more particular attention to an individual. How he presents himself for the office.
Looking at voting pattern, MDC Alliance has been literally buried, and come 2023, the party will be officially buried. The contest will be between ruling Zanu PF and Citizens for Coalition Change. The rest will contribute to 0.08% of the total percentage
Dickson Tarusenga of the then MDC Alliance in 2018 got 25, 192 and Robert Jinjika of Zanu PF got 10 569. In the recent by election, the same Dickson Tarusenga got 5 830 and Robert Jinjika of Zanu PF got 4 483.
Robert Jinjika : 29.5%
Dickson Tarusenga : 40.5%
Percentage in 2022
Dickson Tarusenga : 55%
Robert Jinjika : 42.4%
We have CCC which is two months old, absence of political funding from the Government, and given the context that the polls were characterized by few incidents of violence, and facing a ruling party which has been in existence for over 40 years. What does this imply or reflect on 2023 polls?
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org