August 23: Zanu PF loses grip in restive Matabeleland

Source: August 23: Zanu PF loses grip in restive Matabeleland – The Southern Eye

Ibhetshu likaZulu coordinator Mbuso Fuzwayo

ZANU PF’s support in Matabeleland has shrunk as seen in the recent elections where the ruling party surrendered a number of seats to the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

 The ruling party held majority seats in Matabeleland North and South before the August 23 election with the CCC only maintaining Bulawayo as its main stronghold.

Zanu PF also won the former Bulawayo South constituency in the 2018 elections after the MDC Alliance fielded double candidates.

In  that elections, Zanu PF got eight seats in Matabeleland North while the MDC Alliance then led by Nelson Chamisa got five.

In the August elections, CCC made inroads in the province and now has nine seats.

In Bulawayo in 2018, the MDC Alliance got 11 seats with one going to Zanu PF.

In the just ended elections, CCC swept all the 12 seats in the country’s second city.

In Matabeleland South, Zanu PF got 12 seats while MDC Alliance got one seat in 2018.

The CCC made inroads in the province and won four seats while Zanu PF got six seats in the recent election.

In total, Zanu PF lost a total of eight of the seats it got in the previous polls.

CCC now has a total of 25 seats compared to Zanu PF with 10.

Bulawayo based political commentator Effie Ncube said the declining support for Zanu PF in Matabeleland was not surprising.

“In a free and fair election, it would have been difficult for the party to pick even a single seat,” Ncube said.

 “People expect an end to the economic crisis.

“They want an end to the pain of not being able to give quality life to their children.”

South Africa-based educationist and political commentator Nkosilathi Ncube said voters rejected Zanu PF for failing to deliver on its 2018 election promises.

“Unfortunately roads in Matabeleland such as Victoria Falls – Bulawayo, Nkayi -Bulawayo, Beitbridge -Bulawayo, Tsholotsho -Bulawayo, and Bulawayo-Kezi roads are worse than in 2018,” Ncube said.

“People of this region feel betrayed.

“Devolution is just a pipe dream.

“The Zanu PF manifesto was not fulfilled. People’s little trust has evaporated.”

Ncube said the unresolved issues such as the Gukurahundi massacres also cost Zanu PF.

“People in Matabeleland have not forgotten,” he said.

Ibhetshu likaZulu coordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo, said Zanu PF has never been popular in Matabeleland.

“The future is bleak because the man at the helm is the face of the genocide and in his last term,” Fuzwayo said.

Human rights groups say over 20 000 civilians were killed after late strongman Robert Mugabe deployed the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade to hunt down alleged dissidents.

Mnangagwa was the State Security minister during the infamous programme, which observers say was meant to destroy Zapu led by former vice president Joshua Nkomo as an opposition party.

Nkayi Community Parliament speaker Nhlanhla Ncube said Zanu PF was punished for the mass suffering and poverty in Matabeleland.

“The removal of the late former President Robert Mugabe had woodwinked some into thinking that things had changed,” he said.

“For decades the people of Matabeleland have been voting for nothing.

“I think they are not ready to tolerate that anymore.

“There is nothing to expect from Zanu-PF…expecting them to deliver is like expecting a mule to get pregnant.”

Rural Community Empowerment Trust Matabeleland North coordinator Vumani Ndlovu said: “In Bulawayo like in other urban set up Zanu PF f is unsellable because of the economic hardships.

After rising to power through a coup that toppled Mugabe in 2017, Mnangagwa promised a swift resolution of the Gukurahundi issue and addressing the perennial marginilisation of the region, but he has delivered very little.