The by-election for the Nkulumane House Assembly seat will be held as planned next month after three candidates successfully filed their nomination papers at the Nomination Court in Bulawayo on Friday.
Although there had been widespread speculation that Zanu PF would win the Nkulumane constituency seat unopposed, Killian Sibanda, the Zanu PF candidate, will now have to battle it out with two other contetstants.
The two, Sibusisiwe Mpofu of the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Ngwalo Nyathi of the Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe successfully filed their nomination papers along with Sibanda.
Sibanda told Studio 7 that he is confident of winning the by-election and said his main focus would be to help uplift the lives of Nkulumane residents while also seeking ways to help revive Bulawayo’s industry.
“What is important is delivery. Bulawayo has serious problems of unemployment and poverty. So, we are trying to eradicate poverty in the city and unite people because once people are united, it’s easy to understand one another and come up with viable programs that can alleviate poverty
Sibanda, who beat former Bulawayo mayor David Ndlovu in primary elections that were fraught with claims of irregularities by supporters of the losing candidate, said he would work with all residents including those from across the political divide.
Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe candidate, Sibusisiwe Mpofu, the sole female contender in the race, told Studio 7 she fancies highly her chances of winning, and would pay particular attention to orphans if she won the by election.
Responding to a question about why her party had decided to participate in the by-election while other opposition parties are boycotting all elections calling for electoral reforms, Mpofu said her party feels that change can only be brought about by participating in the polls.
This view was echoed by Reason Munyapwa, the RDZ’s youth secretary, who accompanied Mpofu.
The third candidate in the by-election, Ngwalo Nyathi, is a former Bulawayo councilor who will contest on a Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe ticket.
Nyathi said he decided to take part in the elections so as not to give Zanu PF the seat “on a silver platter.”
Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, which participated in recent by-elections, did not field a candidate for the Nkulumane by-election saying it had joined other parties in boycotting all elections as a way of pushing for electoral law reforms.
The Nkulumane seat fell vacant following the death of Thamsanqa Mahlangu of the MDC-T last month.