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'We're losing ground in Matebeleland,' claims CCC

by Staff reporter
06 Mar 2022 at 08:25hrs | Views
A few weeks before the holding of by-elections on 26 March, the country's opposition has acknowledged that the ruling Zanu-PF party was maintaining a tight grip in the Matabeleland region, an area the opposition previously claimed to be their stronghold.

The opposition has seen its numbers drop since the 2000 election, with the ruling party gaining more numbers from the   ballot box.

The ruling party has over the years been on a positive trajectory in the region, while the opposition has been involved in power struggles which have seen it continuously fragmenting into smaller groupings.

The opposition's fate has further been worsened by the President Mnangagwa-led Second Republic's thrust in fostering people centred social and economic programmes, and key development projects set at improving living conditions of the masses.

Some of the projects in the Matabeleland region include the great strides taken in the progression in the construction of Lake Gwayi-Shangani and its pipeline from Matabeleland North to Bulawayo, the completion of the Epping Forest boreholes project to supply water to Bulawayo, the revival of the Bubi-Lupane Irrigation, the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme and the expansion of Hwange power station, among others.

President Mnangagwa has also been at the forefront in seeking a lasting solution to the post independence disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The weakening hold of the opposition was further confirmed by the Citizens  Coalition for Change (CCC) interim vice president, Prof Welshman Ncube, who in a series of tweets last week, admitted that the ruling party was becoming stronger each year, based on statistics from previous elections.

In Bulawayo, in particular, the opposition's loosening grip was confirmed when the ruling party won a seat in the local  authority when Councillor Kidwell Mujuru won a by-election that was held in March 2019.

Clr Mujuru became the first councillor from the ruling party since 2000 in the city.

In his tweets, Prof Ncube conceded that statistics showed that that the opposition was losing grip on the region, further imploring that  statistics did not yield to sloganeering and emotions.

He admitted that Zanu-PF has become the people's party of choice in the Matabeleland region (Matabeleland North, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South) with the opposition now an underdog.

"The imperative of convergence and unity in the southern provinces which inform the strategic options we have for 2023 are the electoral statistics for the Parliamentary elections. They never lie nor do they yield to slogans and emotions. We can only ignore them at our peril!

"In Bulawayo, in 2000, we mastered 84 percent of the vote. Zanu-PF 13 percent. Others three percent. By 2018 our percentage share had plummeted to 45 percent.

"Zanu-PF had almost doubled its share to 25 percent and others (who included Khupe's MDC-T) stood at 30 percent.

Thus the majority of voters in Bulawayo voted against us in 2018," he said.

Prof Ncube said in 2000 in Matabeleland South, the opposition mastered 60 percent, winning six of the eight seats.

He added that in 2018 their share had dropped to 30 percent and Zanu-PF had gone up to 48 percent worth 12 seats and others stood at 22 percent.

"In Matabeleland North in 2000 we got 74 percent of the vote and all the then seven seats. Zanu-PF 21 percent. Others five percent.

"By 2018 our percentage share had nosedived to 38 percent. Zanu-PF up to 39 percent. Others 23 percent. This is the harsh reality that must inform our strategic options for 2023. I rest my case," he said.

Prof Ncube's sentiments were further echoed by leader of  the MDC-T, Dr Thokozani Khupe during a press conference in Bulawayo last week, where she concurred that the opposition was losing its grip on the region.

"The country is due to hold is next plebiscite next year, the sad reality is that the opposition is currently fragmented, which continues to give a new lease of life to Zanu-PF.

"A closer look at the 2018 harmonised election results in Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo clearly demonstrates the negative effect of opposition fragmentation.

"In Bulawayo for instance it was for the first time since 2000 that the mainstream MDC vote was below 50 percent, whereas the combined MDC vote would have polled 58,1 percent, in Matabeleland North the MDC Alliance polled 37,8 percent while the MDC-T polled 9,5 percent," said Dr Khupe.

The two opposition leaders' sentiments come at a time when the newly formed CCC led by Mr Nelson Chamisa is faced with another possible split after a photograph recently circulated on social media of Prof Ncube, Dr Khupe and another opposition leader Mr Abednico Bhebhe, with indications that talks were at an advanced stage to re-admit Dr Khupe into the party.

However, this has seemingly divided the party, with some members opposed to accepting Dr Khupe into the party, accusing her of causing the fragmentation of the party.

Source - The Sunday News