President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has chalked another parliamentary by-election victory at a time the party is riddled by some internal strife, pitting groups fighting for the succession of the 92-year old Zimbabwean leader.
The win in Mhondoro Mubayira by-election follows similar victories in parliamentary by-election conducted after the party expelled some members claiming that they were aligned to a faction that wanted to topple President Mugabe before the party’s last elective congress.
Godfrey Gangarahwe beat his rival, Rodwell Nyanganya, after getting 13,934 votes. Nyanganya only managed to get 1,056 votes in a by-election boycotted by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai, which is demanding the levelling of the electoral field ahead of the crucial 2018 national polls.
Gangarahwe told Mhondoro Mubayira villagers after his victory that local people voted for his party because it is catering for the needs of the electorate compared to the opposition, which is only interested in grabbing power from the ruling party.
“Zanu PF has over the years been doing everything for its people everywhere even during times when people are facing hunger. It is not like opposition parties that abandon the people all the time. Here in Mhondoro in 2000 people voted for the MDC and that was the last time they saw their MP. There is nothing that the MP did for the people. People have corrected their mistakes by going back to Zanu PF. Up to now people are convinced that opposition parties can’t do anything good for them.
The seat fell vacant after Zanu PF expelled former Member of Parliament, Sylvester Nguni, for allegedly sympathizing with former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was said to have attempted to topple the president. Mrs. Mujuru has dismissed these allegations as false and misleading.
Gangarahwe said he will spearhead the creation of income-generating projects in the constituency in order to ensure that people are self-reliant.
Local villager James Musunami, who did not vote, said there was no reason to cast his ballot as most parties boycotted the by-election.
Nyanganya was not present when the results were announced. His party failed to deploy agents at 58 polling stations.
Zanu PF politburo members - Saviour Kasukuwere , Professor Jonathan Moyo and Senate President Edna Madzongwe - were Mhondoro Mubayira on Saturday giving support to their colleagues.