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Why Zanu PF dominates Masvingo



MASVINGO — ZANU PF has continued its dominance in Masvingo province winning 23 out of 25 parliamentary seats, but why is this the case?


Since the formation of a vibrant opposition party, MDC in 1999 and its participation in elections since 2000, Zanu PF has dominated in the National Assembly except for the 2008 elections.

In 2008 MDC Alliance won 14 seats against with Zanu PF winning 12. In 2013 Zanu PF won all constituencies and in 2018 the ruling party won in 25 constituencies. MDC –A won the Masvingo urban.

Analysts say the opposition has lost because of a number of reasons among them voter intimidation, rigging and vote buying. In a recent report by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Election Resource Centre (ERC) said they have recorded cases of voter intimidation across the country.

Citizens’ Coalition for Change Masvingo pro vincial chief elections agent, Jefferson Chitando, conceded that the party had performed dismally in the province.

“One of the reasons is that Masvingo is the province that is close to South Africa and the economic hardships pushes the young to the diaspora looking for greener pastures. Zanu PF knows the economic hardships in the country and it appeals to the older age and intimidate those who are easily frightened. Those who are easily frightened succumb to Zanu PF’s threats in referring to the liberation struggle experiences,” he said.

 He also said Zanu PF had taken advantage of the fact that Masvingo is a drought prone province, where many rely on food handouts. Chitando said traditional leaders are often used to frog march people to the polling stations while food handouts are part of the campaign strategy.

“Masvingo has an experience of the liberation struggle which is so severe, so old age do not want to be reminded of violence of the liberation struggle. There is also the experience of violence since the formation of the MDC especially during the presidential run off of 2008, where many lives of opposition supporters were lost. Because of those experiences when we talk of the presidential run off, the people of Masvingo have bad experiences which force them to vote, not because they love Zanu PF but because of fear that the party is violent,” added Chitando. However, in an interview Zanu PF Masvingo provincial spokesperson Pepukai Chiwewe said his party has dominated in the National Assembly because it is a structured party and it stresses its roots to the grassroots.

“Management of party is done at the cell level. Cells are found everywhere and our policies as a party comes from the cell level. We are also a mass revolutionary party and whatever we do resonates what people want.

 “Our party does not belong to an individual, it involves the people, every decision we make, we first consult the people so it is the structures that makes Zanu PF a strong party,” he said.

Chiwewe said Zanu PF is also popular in the province because of the values of the liberation struggle such as land reform that are still being instilled in the party.

 “People are still aware of what they are voting for, currently as Masvingo we are moving forward with devolution. Government is coming up with policies and projects that answers challenges that people have on the ground. We are taking devolution to every household. It’s the continuation of our policies that are making us popular,” he added.

Asked about the vote buying mechanism that the opposition alleges, Chiwewe said they are falsehoods as they do not buy people but they involve people in their projects. “We cannot stop to do a government programme because it’s an election,” he said.

 He also refuted that Zanu PF intimidates people.

 “We have never intimidated anyone, our president preaches peace before, during and after the elections and our structures respects this. Oppositions are the ones who intimidate us taking advantage,” said Chiwewe.

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