By Claris Madhuku- The recent election results for Chipinge and other wards and constituencies confirmed that for the last two decades, elections have been a contest between the major political parties and persons and ‘not so much about issues.
The trend from 2000 touted Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. This rivalry was transferred in 2018 to pit Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa with Nelson Chamisa. This is the likely and most probable trend in the 2023 elections.
Readers may need to understand that this voting pattern cannot be analysed as permanent though enduring for now. This observer, who is a native of Chipinge, interacts freely with opinion leaders, including those that are political beneficiaries.
I can at least explain that there is fatigue in continuing the binary politics of Mnangagwa and Chamisa(history and change), yet this is not reflected in the voting process( the paralysis of many social science scholars).
Worryingly, the political space has not been friendly for small and emerging parties. My memory will mention Zanu Ndonga, MDC Mutambara, MDC Mwonzora, Ngarivhume, Mangoma, NCA, PZ etc., for emphasis. The history of the minor parties is not without basis if we consider the impact of Simba Makoni and the Mavambo/Kusile project that brought in Professor Mutambara. Professor Arthur Mutambara had real tangible power of balance during the inclusive government( a discussion for another day).The third force in Zimbabwean politics may appear complicated, but it is necessary and achievable to achieve a natural multi-party democracy. The ZANU Ndonga effect in Chipinge is still a widespread feeling among the elderly. This elderly grouping trusts none of the two popular parties…
The by-election in ward 16, provided 230 voters who rejected both CCC and ZANU PF. This in my view, cannot be assessed as a small fit since this constituted nearly 9 per cent of votes counted.
During the campaign period for the by-election, as observed , the smaller parties (NCA and PZ) pulled significant crowds where pictures have been shared with the public.
The smaller parties may have been intimidated by the skills and stamina of seasoned bigger players on the finishing line, yet they are present with structures, some of them at the branch level.
As part of the analysis to be joined by others whom i will tag, the Zimbabwean political space is very tricky if the emotions of both analysts and voters are to be suspended.
Chipinge district has five constituencies ( East, West, South, Central and Musikavanhu). Since 2000 the constituencies have been changing allegiance between the main political parties.
None of the 5 serve for Chipinge Central can certainly be obvious.
As it stands, the wards and the constituencies in Chipinge are very much wide to the two major political parties, with a surprise if any of the small parties are consistently hardworking.
-Claris Madhuku is the Director of Platform For Youth and Community Development