WASHINGTON DC —
A by-election for the Nkulumane parliamentary seat is set to be held this weekend amid claims by opposition parties that Zanu PF is bussing in unregistered supporters to come and vote in Bulawayo.
The election is also being held amid divisions in Zanu PF in the constituency.
However, despite these divisions Zanu PF appears all set to increase its tally of seats to six in the once opposition stronghold, thanks to the boycott by the opposition.
Zanu PF candidate Killian Sibanda is reportedly not going to get support from a faction led by former mayor, David Ndlovu, who lost in the primaries.
Ndlovu and Sibanda could not be reached for comment.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network says it is deploying 14 observers for the election.
Howerver, party political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who was in the city on Thursday, is reported to have warned party supporters who are said to be mulling the so-called bhora musango strategy (vote against the candidate) that they risk punishment.
The seat fell vacant following the death on October 5th, 2015, of the Movement for Democratic Change lawmaker Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
The MDC factions including other parties like Zapu, which have in the past participated in the elections, have boycotted this by election because they say without electoral reforms they will not participate in any election.
The only opposition candidates in the race are Ngwalo Nyathi of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe and Sibusisiwe Mpofu of the Reformed Democrats of Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF member of the Central Committee, Joseph Ngwenya, said the party is set to bag yet another seat without much effort.
Tshuma said, “ …The by-elections and I think Bulawayo is getting it right again. It did it in June when it ushered five of us into parliament and I think this is the sixth one that we are going to bag in again.”
Tshuma said in the past there was a belief that even if “you put a donkey as a candidate in Bulawayo standing for the MDC it would win but this had cost them the closure of industries.
“Ever since we have been ushered in we have started to move in with vigor and force and now I can tell you that we have convinced the government to turn Bulawayo into a special economic zone,” he said.
Nkulumane senator Rita Ndlovu of the MDC-T said Zanu PF has already started bussing in dozens of supporters from outside the constituency as part of an alleged rigging process.
She said people are confused as to what is going on with some even expressing ignorance that the former MP Mahlangu died and why there’s an election.
“Already they are bussing in people who don’t stay in Nkulumane using affidavits,” she said.