2018 poll 'up for grabs', as Mliswa wins

HARARE - Despite brutalising and bribing voters with residential stands, as well as printing and distributing fake MDC flyers to confuse the people of Norton, President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF was given a royal hiding in Saturday’s keenly-followed by-election in the constituency which was resoundingly won by independent candidate Temba Mliswa.

Analysts and opposition officials who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Mliswa’s unexpected victory had raised optimism among both pro-democracy groups and the ranks of the opposition that the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections could be up for the taking.

Mliswa blew out of the water Zanu PF’s little-known Ronald Chindedza to win the Norton constituency, which fell vacant earlier this year following the expulsion of former war veterans’ leader and Cabinet minister Christopher

Mutsvangwa from the ruling party — which is being devoured by its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars.

He polled 8 927 votes to Chindedza’s 6 192, to deliver a hammer blow to Zanu PF which was bidding to avoid defeat in Mugabe’s own backyard, as well as preventing disgruntled war veterans who campaigned for Mliswa from gaining a measure of revenge on Mugabe and his former liberation movement, following their recent hounding out of the party.

This was also despite the fact that the Norton by-election had been marked by violence, the controversial parcelling out of residential stands and mega rallies by vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, among other prominent politicians, as they drummed up support for Chindedza.

Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, said Mliswa’s victory was a sign that the 2018 elections would be up for grabs despite Zanu PF’s “well-known shenanigans” that he said included violence, vote buying and rigging.

“It is a triumph of the will of the people and a clear indication that violence and electoral fraud, through the doling out of stands, has its own limitations,” Mawarire told the Daily News.

“When confronted with a united opposition, significant voter turnout and an unwavering conviction by the electorate to have its voice heard, it is difficult for Zanu PF to rig the elections.

“We congratulate Mliswa and all democratic forces who stood by him to bring the people victory in Norton. The people have spoken and the message is clear — they have rejected Zanu PF and the sum of its parts; Lacoste, G40 or any other splinter group,” he added.

On her part, political analyst and former civic leader, Gladys Hlatywayo, urged the opposition to build on Mliswa’s victory which she said had been made necessary by a united approach.

“Lessons learnt here are that a united front of the opposition  coupled with lack of elite cohesion in the ruling party, can be lethal to Zanu PF. The opposition needs to be crafty going forward, especially on the reform agenda, to ensure that the election process is democratic and immune to the electoral shenanigans of yesteryear.

“The united front forged by the opposition was crucial. The war veterans ditched the ruling party and supported Mliswa. Having been part of the ruling party himself, Mliswa was able to withstand Zanu PF’s intimidation and violence and fought for the seat.

“The manner in which (Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere conceded defeat also signals a willingness to re-strategise on Zanu PF’s part and the opposition must equally up its game,” Hlatywayo said.

University of Zimbabwe politics professor, Eldred Masunungure, said while it was too early to read “too much” into Mliswa’s shock victory, Zanu PF could expect more shocks in the 2018 polls.

“One swallow does not make a summer and this is only one victory out of dozens other by-elections since 2013. In addition, Norton has traditionally been an MDC seat and the 2013 result was rather weird.

“Nonetheless, it is a cardinal lesson for Zanu PF that patronage has its limits. You can dole out 9 000 stands but still get 6 000 votes. This is also so, considering the amount of effort that was put in by Zanu PF, with two vice presidents going there to try and persuade and force the electorate, or both.

“It is a lesson for 2018 that they can expect to see repeated. They are reaping what they are sowing through the partisan distribution of food aid and other electoral ills,” Masunungure said.

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC said while the Norton election was “definitely not free and fair”, it had still provided a platform for the opposition to push for more electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 polls.

“As long as Election 2018 is free and fair, after the adoption of electoral reforms, Zanu PF will be confined to the dustbin of political history. We have to continue to vigorously fight for electoral reforms in order to decisively deal with the fear factor amongst rural voters.

“We should never, ever think that the regime has reformed simply because Mliswa clinched victory in Norton. We are acutely aware of the fact that rural areas are presently being ring-fenced by the regime’s terror machinery. Traditional leaders shouldn’t be coerced into operating as Zanu PF political commissars,” its spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

Human rights activist McDonald Lewanika said Mliswa’s victory should serve as a hard lesson to Zanu PF that intimidation and coercion had limits.

“Mliswa’s victory in Norton is significant and demonstrates the limits of coercion and voter intimidation in electoral processes. In that respect it does present some hope for the opposition ahead of 2018,” he said.

Kasukuwere, while accepting defeat, warned that the former liberation movement would bounce back with gusto.

“Norton has eluded us. Key lessons have been learnt. Thank you to our supporters for coming out and voting for our candidate. We will continue working together and fulfil our promises.

“The message from the electorate is there for us to digest and we will return no doubt. Norton is home to great citizens and setbacks are normal,” he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

In the run-up to Saturday’s election, Zanu PF apparatchiks had waged brutal campaigns against Mliswa and his supporters, raising fears that the former ruling party Mashonaland West chairman would not win the ballot.

The previous weekend, Zanu supporters had also run amok in the constituency, battering Mliswa’s supporters and engaging in running battles with police — in barbaric scenes which turned the dormitory town into a war zone.

The chaotic scenes left scores of people badly injured and requiring hospitalisation, in addition to forcing Mliswa to cancel his scheduled rally at Ngoni Stadium where thousands of his supporters had gathered ahead of the by-election — including MDC, ZPF and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members.

Zanu PF insiders also told the Daily News yesterday that Mliswa’s victory was a significant blow to the ruling party, adding that disaffected party bigwigs and war veterans, who had a stunning fall-out with Mugabe earlier this year, had vigorously campaigned to ensure that Zanu PF did not win the seat.

The ex-combatants served Mugabe with divorce papers in July to end a long relationship which dated back to the days of the 1970s liberation struggle. This was after the war veterans’ executive issued a damning communiqué in which they said churlishly that the nonagenarian was now “a hard sell” for the 2018 national elections.

Subsequently, authorities launched a brutal crackdown against the war veterans, resulting in the arrest of a number of their leaders while also moving to expel them from Zanu PF.

The former freedom fighters had been Mugabe and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of MDC supporters.

Comments (38)

Mliswa's victory will not change the political dynamic. ZanuPF still has a majority in parly, in fact they can afford to lose many more before their majority is threatened. ZanuPF will use this result to strategize for 2018 in two ways. Firstly ZanuPF has learnt that they will never win a free and fair election henceforth. Secondly ZanuPF has now confirmed its worst fear that the opposition are stronger together. ZanuPF will take both lessons and most likely come up with a combination of rigging and terror strategies to retain power. I hope the opposition is also strategizing to counter this, obviously they are going to need cash.

Mamvemve - 24 October 2016

Themba Mliswa can kick and ZANU PF has been kicked to their assholes. the game is over for ZANU PF party and its leadership. Come 2018, ZANU PF is dead and buried. Remember, it is Chris Mutsvangwa who made the boy Karate Kid to win this by election

Clemence Tashaya - 24 October 2016

36yrs later you still fall for these zanu gimmicks? This is a seat that is inconsequential, zanu know that in 2018 when they rig the elections they will point to this result and say if we were rigging why did Themba win blah blah. Its the same with judicial rulings where you get token rulings to mask the rot and corruption on things of substance.

Galore - 24 October 2016

I do wellcome Themba Mliswa's victory for beating Zanu PF Candidate in a highly-contested parliamentary by-election. This is an eye opener what Zimbabweans can do if we are united and have just a single focus - that of unseating Zanu-pf government completely. Winning the Norton by election by beating Ronald Chinedza, a Zanu pf candidate, was no joke as nasty clashes between suppoters were order of the day during campaigns to the run up. Well done Temba and congratulations for all your effort and dedication in the struggle. Your efforts are encouraging and loaded with a focused vision that should be envied and emulated by all peace loving Zimbabweans. ?Forward ever and backward never. ?If all people of Zimbabwe clearly understood the fundammental reason behind Temba Mliswa's victory - that Norton has shown their dislike of ZANU-PF misrule - honestly we are going to turn the tables under no circumstance in the 2018 elections. We are going to have a landslide victory and kick this clueless government out of power. ?Zimbabweans should accept the purpose of unity demonstrated by Norton constituecny to overcome Zanu pf candidate. I do wellcome Themba Mliswa's victory for beating Zanu PF Candidate in a highly-contested parliamentary by-election. This is an eye opener what Zimbabweans can do if we are united and have just a single focus - that of unseating Zanu-pf government completely. Winning the Norton by election by beating Ronald Chinedza, a Zanu pf candidate, was no joke as nasty clashes between suppoters were order of the day during campaigns to the run up. Well done Temba and congratulations for all your effort and dedication in the struggle. Your efforts are encouraging and loaded with a focused vision that should be envied and emulated by all peace loving Zimbabweans. ?Forward ever and backward never. ?If all people of Zimbabwe clearly understood the fundammental reason behind Temba Mliswa's victory - that Norton has shown their dislike of ZANU-PF misrule - honestly we are going to turn the tables under no circumstance in the 2018 elections. We are going to have a landslide victory and kick this clueless government out of power. ?Zimbabweans should accept the purpose of unity demonstrated by Norton constituecny to overcome Zanu pf candidate. I do wellcome Themba Mliswa's victory for beating Zanu PF Candidate in a highly-contested parliamentary by-election. This is an eye opener what Zimbabweans can do if we are united and have just a single focus - that of unseating Zanu-pf government completely. Winning the Norton by election by beating Ronald Chinedza, a Zanu pf candidate, was no joke as nasty clashes between suppoters were order of the day during campaigns to the run up. Well done Temba and congratulations for all your effort and dedication in the struggle. Your efforts are encouraging and loaded with a focused vision that should be envied and emulated by all peace loving Zimbabweans. ?Forward ever and backward never. ?If all people of Zimbabwe clearly understood the fundammental reason behind Temba Mliswa's victory - that Norton has shown their dislike of ZANU-PF misrule - honestly we are going to turn the tables under no circumstance in the 2018 elections. We are going to have a landslide victory and kick this clueless government out of power. ?Zimbabweans should accept the purpose of unity demonstrated by Norton constituecny to overcome Zanu pf candidate.

Pythias Makonese - 24 October 2016

Its too early to celebrate for shoo! This evil party has a beg full of tricks be warned

goodlife - 24 October 2016

War veterans were Zanu PF 's machinery during election time.They intimidated the opposition and were a feared lot in the rural areas.Now that some of them have seen the light its difficult for these hooligans who are wet behind their ears to intimidate the electorate as before.In fact the opposition can fight back with the help of the war veterans. 2018 we beckon you.Imagine opposition winning in Uzumba Maramba pfungwe.

chimuti - 24 October 2016

its amazing that the idiots dont know that it was our stratergy to lose this election so as to give the opposition false hope,we rigged against our candidate who won convincingly,the bigger picture is the 2018 election which we not only need but win the the participation of the mdc to ensure legitimacy ,so giving the mdc a false start is part of the broader stratergy

truth - 24 October 2016

Over 6000 pple voting for Zanu? Who in their proper mind would vote for a inept party only good at creating 95% unemployment and dirty water? Makarau at it again.

moe syslack - 24 October 2016

@truth sthfu - your 2 VPs were there in Norton frothing at the mouth, menacing, threatening and talking all sorts of BS. Despite the stands, the terrorism and the official threats all of you were walloped - end of story. What strategy can you tell people about when you can't even spell the word? Violence will NOT work this time around you terrorists!

Sagitarr - 24 October 2016

the way we operate is beyond your comprehension,your naivety is forgiven

truth - 24 October 2016

truth.... so you are telling the whole world that ZANU PF is in control of ZEC buy telling ZEC to rigg against your candidate????? So you can equally tel ZEC to rigg in 2018 against MDC ZMPF hey

chipotono - 24 October 2016

Yu can celebrate now.mmm.Yu did not defeat Zanu bt yu defeated G40 ,Temba.We thot we made it perfectly clear to yu ,that we the comrades,will assist yu partly.We gave yu 10 warvets to help yu,n yu won.They G40, come to rurals to campaign ,accompanied by light skinned wives or girlfriends,ouzing expensive imported perfume,dressed to kill,suits n pointed shoes and expect rurals to side wth them.No.We the commrades live with the rurals,stink sweat wth them,drink chikokiyana wth them and talk politics during the night.Y cant beat us on this G40'We are masters of both deception and trueth.Come to us and yu will prosper.

viola gwena - 24 October 2016

@chipotono,ZEC,is our creation,we did not form it to ensure we lose election,that is why we seconded intelligence officers to staff it,we are not in the business of losing elections

truth - 24 October 2016

"Not in the business of losing" You lost! your party lost! And by the way truth thank you for telling us your party's "strategy" #sore losers lol

Young Zimbo - 24 October 2016

@truth,with this victory temba can now negotiate on his terms his return to the party,will he be accepted?he is a son of the party after all,@viola gwena whats the way forward

jojo - 24 October 2016

Peace loving Warvets and all democratic parties in Zimbabwe come together and form one party which you will use to usher in democracy in Zimbabwe (It should be a transitional body). Do not be greedy. Do not so much look at each other with suspicion. Just work for the common good. Work for what the warvets fought for. A free democratic peaceful prosperous Zimbabwe.

Icho - 24 October 2016

Congratulations Temba. Makorokoto! ZanuPF simply cannot buy the 4 million votes required for the next Presidential Election. If offered land, take it. If offered food take it. But VOTE for a better future for your country and for your children. ZanuPf is an unmitigated disaster. It belongs in our history. Robert Mugabe is an important part of our history but a major liability for ZANUpf and the country when it comes to weaving our future.

Viva Unidade - 24 October 2016

Zanu panicked gave 9000 stands and still lost and threatened withdrawal of food aid to get votes I wander what weapon they will use to campaign in 2018 --Those 6000 voters need their heads examined -condition of clinics and shortages of basisc in hospitals would send me voting for anything than Zanu Now VATONGI varuza Vachatongwa but in chikubi

Naphiri Chisayi - 24 October 2016

Zanu panicked gave 9000 stands and still lost and threatened withdrawal of food aid to get votes I wander what weapon they will use to campaign in 2018 --Those 6000 voters need their heads examined -condition of clinics and shortages of basisc in hospitals would send me voting for anything than Zanu Now VATONGI varuza Vachatongwa but in chikubi

Naphiri Chisayi - 24 October 2016

Zanu panicked gave 9000 stands and still lost and threatened withdrawal of food aid to get votes I wander what weapon they will use to campaign in 2018 --Those 6000 voters need their heads examined -condition of clinics and shortages of basisc in hospitals would send me voting for anything than Zanu Now VATONGI varuza Vachatongwa but in chikubi

Naphiri Chisayi - 24 October 2016

@jojo,they win one by-election out of thirty they start making noise,this is a hollow victory engineered by us,at any rate a return of one victory in thirty is poor,besides norton always voted opposition,and temba mliswa is still one of our own,he only has differences with the political commissar and the prof,a return to the fold is imminent,come 2018 we will wrestle norton back and give tsvangison and his acolytes a good hiding

truth - 25 October 2016

Thank people of Norton for loudly saying to ZANU hamba phuma from Norton and all sane people like what you did thank you folks . The writing is on the wall for zanu and it reads HEAVY DEFEAT AHEAD FOR ZANU . But as we all know satan zanu will now spring into serious violence to stay alive so all voters be warned and stay alert and make sure you do not vote for zanu NO MATTER WHAT , ZANU is being phased out of zim politics but during that process it will cause a lot of destruction but lets not worry about that instead our focus must be to make sure zanu goes for good . People of Norton Twaalumba thank u siyabonga kakhulu to zanu hawu toko Mwainyanya kuvhaira

Diibulaanyika - 25 October 2016

Well done Themba, good news indeed. However I would not read too much into this one single victory because it poses no threat to ZANU PF nor is it an indicator that the polls won't be rigged and voters intimidated into voting ZANU PF. Guaranteed the planning and strategyzing for ensuring an outright win at the next elections is in a well advanced stage and nobody is going to stop them. How many more stolen elections do we have to suffer to realize that these guys are incapable of playing fairly - it can't and won't happen this I absolutely guarantee you.

Mbewa - 25 October 2016

You can come with theories saying the defeat means nothing to zanu but the truth is it means a lot and zanu is seriously pained by that and not taking the defeat lightly That seat meant a lot to them hence Munangagwa and Mpoko came out in full swing campaign to win it which never happened . If we remove the mentality that zanu rigs instead find out how they rig which is violence intimidation vote buying using stands and food and then make sure pple do not get deceived by that then zanu will be beaten .2008 zanu was beaten so zanu will be thrashed again if we all stop morning about rigging and being cowards

Diibulaanyika - 25 October 2016

True Diibulaa it meant a lot especially with lots of fights going on in zanu one would think winning of that seat would at least mean the party still has not lost its mojo but a loss is very big dent to the image of the party which is not looking good at as of now

SIBONGILE - 25 October 2016

Zanu is way too divided to mount any meaningfull challenge on elections ,economy and social living of citizens.Its divided into 2, confusing the electorate.Temba himself was a very vocal party cadir,zanu.Mujuru ,Mavhaire,warvets, all these are Zanu functionaries ready to campaign whole heartedly for Zanu,if the party reforms.@Jojo yu ask what next.I wuldnt bother worying on Mliswa as its still Zanu person who won.He is known by all as a Zanu person.What is of parzmount importance is to stop this party divisions thats killing zanu.That has to start from the top.Its a known fact that Zanu is now being led by the 1st lady.She is not a unifier bt divisive ,for power,prolonging power for her family, not Zanu.All these expulsions were instigated by our lady ,who knew nothing much about Zanu.This purging wuld have continued all the way to Vp Mnangagwa bt she was brot down to size by the croc s thick skin n eyeball to eyeball wth croc ,she blinked.We need to recall the party from money mongers and give it back to fighters of the party.There are plenty honourable men n women who expelled themselves from the party after noticing the emergence of these shununigans ,skunks after money in zanu,power seeking morons that have nothing for the poor.They build wealth 1st ,for themselves bfo worying about the povo,the folks we fought for.Mansions.This is a product of thefts,corrupt practices .When I say fighters I dnt just mean warvets only.There are leaders of zanu like Masiiwa,shingi mutasa,Mawere,Makamba, all these at one tyme were party caders,pushed out of zanu.Why we want Ngwena is for him to reorient the party.Allow all zanu pple to come back and work for the country to prosperity.There is no enermy in politics now.Tsvangirai is not anyone s enermy .He longs for democracy too.A real zanu conference is needed after 2018,to appoint real pple.

viola gwena - 25 October 2016

Truth, are u employed?Are your brother and sister employed? Is your cousin employed? Is your mother getting her medication at the hospital?

Jonso - 25 October 2016

@Tete Viola That will be great if zanu can reform.I respect this view you put in.

gandanga - 25 October 2016

It is issues like these which raises the change in stratergy by Zanu PF. Rememeber the referendum which Zanu PF lost and what repecussions it brought. Zanu PF realised they had lost support and had to look for something which it would use to drum up support even if it was going to destroy the country. After the referendum Zanu PF chose the issue of the land which it used to destroy the opposition as well the economy of the country.Rememebr what happened after March 29 elections in 2008.Zanu PF chose to use brutality and murder because it was staring at defeat after doctoring the results to a run-off. Zanu PF is going to go to the drawing board and watch this space for their next action.However to the opposition my feeling was not to enter the 2018 elections without reforms meanwhile go on an aggressive votter education in the rural areas. The opposition also need to come together and avoid the spoiller mentallity which was shown by Simba Makoni in 2008. Some opposition leaders must swallow their pride and see reality and rally behind one leader and then compete against each other after the removal of the devil

Zvigubu Ngondongondo - 25 October 2016

We are proud of people of Norton they showed the world that this so called Munangagwa guy is over rated and not popular in zim politics as some people wish ,say and think by making sure they did not vote for his choice instead Themba .Clearly this shows Munangagwa is nothing and not taken serious by all sane zimbos . He is just a gukurahundi being pushed around by fellow gukuras who have no interest of rebuilding this country but impose foolish fellow gukurahundi onto us to lead us .The guy is just tired and very clumsy when ever he talks he hallucinates more so he remains accused of killing thousands of unarmed citizens for no reason in the 80s He can not be trusted to be president of this nation bcoz he has human slaughter history under his belt . Viva Norton for refusing to be deceived by satan Munangagwa .

Diibulaanyika - 25 October 2016

shut up @diibulaanyika

truth - 25 October 2016

@diibulaanyika,this is now water under the bridge,can we debate other issues please,we cant possibly dwell on a by-election the whole day

truth - 25 October 2016

@Truth it is simply do not read what i write here more so we are commenting the bi election story which zanu lost and you want us to talk about what ? If we do not talk about the bi election here then we will be out of topic sithutha senkosi . kanti unjani bcoz zanu lost then we must not talk about it according to you shame Remember this is not the herald or zbc where the only time elections are talked about is when zanu rigs blood spukupuku .It seems You got offended too much by zanu loss toko .

Diibulaanyika - 25 October 2016

KKKKKKKKK Diibula makawoma

Chimedza matombo - 25 October 2016

EDITOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!upload new news

jojo - 25 October 2016

Editor we are enjoying ourselves this is great stuff to us .Those who do not want this type of news can go to the Herald they will find a lot junk there . Here we are enjoying the other side of the story the loss of zanu in Norton ongafuniyo kayekele

Diibulaanyika - 25 October 2016

Jojo , Truth and Viola one person kkkkkkkkkk

Chimedza matombo - 25 October 2016

Someone please explain why MDC did not field a canidate on this Norton thing.I mean whats the lodgic of backing a forma zanu candidate,when they culd just back one of their own.I Where they not ready yet?

viola gwena - 25 October 2016

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