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Mugabe's Zanu PF wins key by-election
THE Lupane by-election was called after MDC MP David Mpala (above) died following a dastardly attack by ruling party loyalists
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 05/18/2004 06:48:44 Last updated: 05/18/2004 03:46:09
ZANU PF has won the Lupane by-election by 883 votes, it has been announced in the past few minutes.
The Lupane by-election pitted Martin Khumalo of the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC’s Njabuliso Mguni.
Zanu PF polled 10 069 to the MDC's 9 186. The constituency registrar said there were 300 spoilt votes while 2000 people were turned away for various reasons.
The MDC, which has lost several seats to the ruling party in about a dozen by-elections held since 2000, has alleged rigging and violence.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, claims that "assisted voting" gives the authorities the power to punish or reward voters, especially over distribution of food relief.
The constituency registrar, Willard Sayenda, said of the 12,173 voters who had cast their ballots in the by-election by the end of Saturday, more than 1,000 were "assisted to vote" because they claimed illiteracy or other disabilities.
Meanwhile an opposition spokesman, Nkanyiso Maqeda, said two men were kidnapped and tortured last week by self-styled former independence war guerrillas. When they were released on Friday and went to report the matter, "police said the two were against Zanu-PF supporters."
The opposition, which won the seat in the 2000 general elections, allege that the former member of parliament in the seat, David Mpala, who died in February this year succumbed to torture wounds inflicted in the run-up to the polls four years ago.
MDC said Mpala's health "deteriorated... after being tortured and stabbed by ZANU-PF supporters" in 2002.
The MDC stormed onto the Zimbabwean political scene in 2000 parliamentary elections, clinching 57 predominantly-urban constituency seats out of the 120 contested seats. The ruling party won 62 seats and it still holds the majority.
Mugabe appoints 30 other non-constituency legislators
to parliament, but his party still does not enjoy the two-thirds majority
required to change the constitution.