Source: Bulawayo — A political battlefield – Sunday News Jul 1, 2018
Gabriel Masvora/ Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Sunday News Reporters
BULAWAYO Metropolitan Province has become the face of this year’s harmonised elections with almost every political party and a number of independent candidates fancying their chance in the city.
So fierce is the battle for Bulawayo, that the city has the highest average number of candidates per constituency, at 17 candidates for the National Assembly.
According to data released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) last week, Magwegwe Constituency in the city tops the highest number of candidates for the National Assembly at 22 in the whole country, compared to areas like Uzumba in Mashonaland East where there are only two candidates vying for the seats.
This means on 30 July, voters in Magwegwe, which is also in Ward 18 in the local council elections, will have the opportunity to choose from a whopping 56 candidates, 23 for presidential, 22 for National Assembly and 11 for council elections. A total 204 candidates from various political parties are running for the 12 seats in the city.
Emakhandeni-Entumbane Constituency has the lowest number of candidates, 12, in the province. In comparison, Harare Metropolitan Province, with 19 constituencies has 319 candidates with an average of 11 candidates per constituency with Budiriro having the highest number of candidates — 13. Matabeleland South Province has 99 candidates vying for the constituencies, translating to an average of about seven candidates per constituency.
In Matabeleland North Province 135 candidates eye the 13 constituencies translating to an average of about 10 candidates per constituency. Lupane East constituency has the highest number of candidates, 13.
Masvingo Province has 140 candidates for 26 constituencies, with Masvingo Urban Constituency having the highest number of candidates — nine, while Chiredzi East which has two candidates has the lowest in the province. In Midlands Province there are 178 candidates in 28 constituencies, translating to an average of about six candidates per constituency. Mbizo Constituency in Kwekwe has the highest number of candidates, 13, while Mberengwa North and Gokwe-Nembudziya have three each to rank lowest.
Manicaland Province has 194 candidates in 26 constituencies, translating to an average of seven candidates per constituency, while in Mashonaland Central Province there are 99 candidates vying for 18 constituencies, meaning each constituency has an average of six candidates.
A total of 116 candidates will lock horns in 24 constituencies in Mashonaland East Province, translating to an average of five candidates per constituency while in Mashonaland West Province where there is an average of seven candidates per constituency 158 candidates will battle it out in 22 constituencies.
The data shows that the ruling party Zanu-PF fielded candidates in each constituency out of the 2 010 seats, while its main rival MDC Alliance fielded 207 candidates. People’s Rainbow Coalition led by former Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru fielded 154 candidates while the MDC-T led by Dr Thokozani Khupe fielded candidates in 111 constituencies. A total of 242 independent candidates will contest this year’s National Assembly candidates, a development some observers say points to the country’s mature democracy.
Meanwhile, data also showed that in Bulawayo, 258 629 people registered to vote with 138 275 being female and 120 354 male.
The polling station with the highest number of registered voters in Bulawayo is Mahlathini A Primary School in Cowdray Park, Luveve Constituency with 2 944 voters followed by Inkanyezi in Lobengula Constituency with 2 863 voters and Dumezweni A Primary School in Pumula Constituency that has 2 775 voters.
Roman Catholic University polling station in Bulawayo East constituency has 2 544 voters while Entumbane Hall polling station in Emakhandeni-Entumbane Constituency has 2 470 registered voters.
Mgiqika A Primary School polling station in Nketa Constituency has the third highest number of registered voters in the province, 2 456 while Nyamande polling station in Lobengula Constituency has 2 438 voters.
Other polling stations that have recorded high numbers of registered voters include Iminyela Hall in Pelandaba-Mpopoma (2 431), Mkhithika Thebe Primary School in Luveve Constituency (2 084) and Mhali A Primary School in Magwegwe Constituency (2 029).