ZANU PF is two seats away from securing a much-desired two-thirds majority in Parliament ahead of the 3 February by-elections — the second since the 23 August 2023 general elections controversially won by the ruling party.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa desires a two-thirds majority as he weighs his options, including the possibility of changing the constitution to run for a third term. There is however strong push-back by the military, which is resisting his third-term manoeuvres.
Zanu PF failed to garner the two-thirds majority during the general elections, getting 136 of the 209 National Assembly seats contested, while the CCC got 73 seats.
The 210th seat remained vacant after former Zanu PF member and independent candidate for Gutu West candidate, Christopher Mutonhori Rwodzi, died in a horror car crash on the eve of the election.
Zanu PF also got 33 proportional representation seats and seven youth quota seats, bringing the total number of seats to 176 and 10 seats short of a two-thirds majority.
Zanu PF’s John Paradza won the Gutu West by-election last November, reducing the required number to nine.
After the by-elections in December induced by imposter secretary-general of the CCC, Sengenzo Tshabangu, Zanu PF garnered seven seats.
The recalled members of Parliament sought re-election under the CCC banner, but Tshabangu got them expunged from the ballot through a court order, giving Zanu PF an unfair advantage of weaker opposition candidates and even getting a walkover in constituencies such as Mabvuku-Tafara.
In that election, Zanu PF got Mabvuku-Tafara, Binga North, Bulawayo South, Beitbridge West, Lupane East, Cowdray Park, and Nketa, leaving the party needing just two seats to claim a two-thirds majority.
Next month’s by-elections were prompted by the 10 November 2023 recalling of CCC organising secretary, Amos Chibaya (Mkoba North), who is also chief whip of the party, the party’s deputy spokesperson Gift Ostallos Siziba (Pelandaba-Tshabalala), Admore Chivero (Chegutu West), Tapfumaneyi Willard Madzimbamuto (Seke), Oliver Mutasa (Zvimba East) and Stephen Chatiza (Goromonzi South).
Zanu PF has a chance of winning the Mkoba North and Pelandaba-Tshabalala seats after CCC candidates were stopped by the courts from running. The party also has the possibility of winning polls in the Goromonzi South, Zvimba East, Chegutu West and Seke, amid fears that voter apathy may also play a role.
Zanu PF is confident of a win to secure the two-thirds majority which would help them pass bills through the lower House without difficulty.
“As Zanu PF we take all elections seriously and with the February by-election it is no different. The campaign has been very positive and the feedback has been exciting. We are campaigning peacefully and spurring the message of the positive work being done by His Excellency Cde. E.D. Mnangagwa,” said Zanu PF director of communications Farai Marapira.
He added that past elections proved Mnangagwa’s popularity and this coming election will consolidate the party’s popularity.
“A candid look at last year’s elections shows a trajectory that proves President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF have the people’s trust. We are looking forward excitedly to a resounding win and we expect no other result. We are raring to go and are excited for this impending win,” said Marapira.
The by-elections set for 3 February 2024 will exclude candidates who won during the 23 August polls, again gifting Zanu PF the advantage of getting seats.
In the last parliamentary term, Mnangagwa, through the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment (No.2) Act, changed the supreme charter to remove the running mate close so that he has a pliant deputy, while giving himself greater control over cabinet, the Prosecutor-General and Public Protector.
The Act permitted the President to promote judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court to a higher court on the recommendation of the JSC, without the need for public interviews, thereby opening the door to promotions on the basis of political suitability and cronyism.
It allowed judges of the ConCourt and the Supreme Court to continue to serve beyond the current retirement age of 70, if the President, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission, consented to their doing so.