Mliswa victory shows changing dynamics

HARARE - Independent candidate Temba Mliswa’s victory in the Norton by-election held on Saturday perhaps marks the beginning of a new trend towards political maturity on the part of the Zimbabwean electorate.

The whole world was watching in the past month when Zanu PF officials — including vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — made a bee-line to the Norton constituency on the outskirts of the capital, Harare.

Ruling party officials made all sorts of promises to the crisis-weary electorate, including dolling out residential stands and food to desperate and hungry Zimbabweans.

The Norton parliamentary seat fell vacant following the expulsion of former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa from Zanu PF.

Mliswa beat Ronald Chindedza who was representing the ruling party.

The Zanu PF loss signals the beginning of a new chapter on the Zimbabwean political landscape. For starters, it just shows that no amount of vote-buying, violence, intimidation, rigging, bad-mouthing and even thuggery can stand in the way of national aspirations towards progress that has been delayed for the past 36 years President Robert Mugabe has superintended over the affairs of state, with catastrophic consequences for the country.

In the run-up to the by-election — which lies at the heart of Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West — Zanu PF took truckloads of food to the Norton constituency.

At some point, Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira declared that people had to be members of Zanu PF in order to access food aid.

Two weeks ago, alleged Zanu PF thugs ran riot in Norton, battering Mliswa’s supporters and fighting running battles with the police — turning the sleepy town into a war zone.

The ugly scenes left scores of people injured and Mliswa had to cancel his scheduled rally at Ngoni Stadium that included MDC, Zimbabwe People First and People’s Democratic Party members.

This came after Zanu PF had addressed two undisturbed rallies in the same constituency in the previous week, which were addressed by Mphoko, the party’s political commissar  — who is also Local Government minister — Saviour Kasukuwere and Mupfumira

Interestingly, while opposition parties feared for the worst as the keenly-anticipated 2018 national elections beckon, the Norton victory for Mliswa gives hope to Zimbabweans.

The people will now start believing in the power of the ballot they felt had been eroded by years of intimidation, rigging and all related electoral ills.

Bludgeoning voters, giving them niceties like housing stands and food on the eve of an election will not work. People are just tired and they are hungry for change. The Norton result shows the power to kick out Zanu PF lies in the people.

Comments (2)

This victory by Temba should let Mr Boycott Tsangirai see that you dont give up in the face of adversity. If he had not pulled out the re-run in 2008 perhaps zimbabwe would be a different story altogether. HIs reason that zanu was killing his party members may have been valid but people still died anyway! he should have stayed in the race! Morgan has been consistent in making bad decions which have set him and other opposition politicians back time and again! He caused the split with Welshman over senate elections which he then took part in, Biti and others walked when he refused to step down then he caused their recall from parliament thus weakening the opposition in parliament since his party refused (foolishly) to participate in elections to fill that void! The lesson to be learnt is that you do not give up on a fight despite the odds being against you. You give it your best shot!! Temba has proved it and this has galvanized the nation to believe that the so called giant can be slaughtered. How many seats/ opposition voices has Morgan donated to zanu by not taking part in the elections! Perhaps Morgan should step down gracefully. His health will not allow him to carry on effectively otherwise he has no moral right to ask Bob to step down (only in as far as Bob's health and age are concerned). Well done Temba (though I believe zanu still runs in your veins) but remain humble coz Zanu is smart as u may well know. Maybe they should have unleashed Jono!!

albert moyo - 25 October 2016

Missing the mark .....Albert unlike the ZANU pf dictatorship the MDC T decision was arrived at by consensus. Rightly or wrongly you are labouring under a delusion by pouring scorn on President Tsvangariyi. If you are one of those boys paid to cause confusion, well done. This was a good piece.

Viva Unidade - 27 October 2016

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