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Zanu PF now back in town!



THE ruling Zanu PF won the Mount Pleasant and Harare East constituencies in the capital by-elections held over the weekend, redrawing the electoral map since 2000 and signifying serious subversion of democracy.

The party’s candidates, George Mashavave and Kiven Mutimbanyoka, emerged victorious, garnering 3 205 and 3 533 votes, respectively, amid low voter turnout.

Independent candidates associated with the opposition lost. In fact, opposition candidates were not a factor.

Both constituencies were won by Zanu PF candidates with comfortable leads. Mutimbanyoka won the by-election with a lead of 1 559 votes, while Mashavave won with a lead of 2 040 votes.

While Harare East had predominantly been won by opposition parties since 2000, Zanu PF previously won the seat in the 2015 by-election when Terrence Mukupe of Zanu PF was declared the winner. Mount Pleasant has also been an opposition stronghold since 2008, with Zanu PF winning the seat in 2013 when MDC-T’s Jameson Timba lost to Jaison Passade of Zanu PF.

With these two seats, Zanu PF now holds seven seats in Harare metropolitan province, the largest block since opposition inroads in 2000.

Harare has 29 National Assembly constituencies.

This development can be directly attributed to opposition CCC’s self-imposed secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu’s political antics.

The democratic cost of Tshabangu’s shenanigans is rising as Zanu PF keeps on clawing back into urban areas from the woodwork. The party was largely exiled to rural areas by the now defunct MDC from 2000.

This unprecedented political development in over two decades further highlights Tshabangu’s dubious role as an enabler of Zanu PF’s authoritarian political project by design or default. Tshabangu made it possible for Zanu PF to return to urban areas through recalls of legitimately elected MPs, senators, mayors and councillors.

It was tantamount to subversion of the people’s will, democracy and the fight for a better Zimbabwe.

This has now become his main mission as he materially benefits from the sinister project, undermining the opposition and subverting democracy for personal gain.

The ruling party now has a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the National Assembly, courtesy of Tshabangu and his political handlers driven by blind fury and bitterness.

Tshabangu worked closely with the executive, parliament and the judiciary, as well as state security agents and bitter individuals to destroy the opposition.

Former CCC party leader Nelson Chamisa quit CCC and abandoned the electorate.
By so doing and refusing to listen to many people who meant well, Chamisa became part of the problem as he left gaps in his vulnerable organisation and strategy for the infiltrators to penetrate by neglecting, failing or refusing to do the basics: Have a constitution, party structures, offices, office- bearers and bank accounts.

Chamisa could and should have done better.

But then again he remains the most popular opposition leader and best option in Zimbabwe. Yet without translating his popularity into political capital and sustainable leverage, it counts for nothing in the end.

Chamisa needs deep introspection and reconfiguration of his politics to come back stronger and with solid leadership credentials and credibility. He needs a big comeback to overcome the current negative perceptions and ratings.

Simple free, friendly advice for Chamisa: Always remember that popularity is not enough to win political power. The matrix involves many other things: You need political machinery (party), with strong structures and efficient leaders around you.

Besides, popularity is not leadership and leadership is not popularity. That is self-explanatory.

Controversially, it can also be argued that elections are not merely a popularity contest. They are more of an ideas and strategic battle than popularity competition.

Those who think and organise better can win elections without being the most popular with the electorate.

Depending on the electoral system and environment, elections are conditioned and won or lost on many other things, including basics like resources and logistics.

Lastly, Zanu PF infiltrators, saboteurs and Chamisa’s grave miscalculations — let it be said without fear or favour — badly let down voters who sacrificed to vote for change and demand a new trajectory on where the country in crisis for over two decades should now be going.

The Tshabangu scandal will continue to define national electoral politics until Chamisa comes back, better organised, structured and funded.

Chamisa should use that as an opportunity, not resign and wallow in it, like it is the end of the world.

Sometimes, crisis creates opportunity.

Without new politics, we will continue going round in circles until the current political generation becomes irrelevant or is phased out with and by time.

The only constant in life is change, so Chamisa has to change his politics, strategy and tact to politically survive.

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