After losing in the 23-24 August elections, ZANU PF MP candidate for Chinhoyi Constituency, Thomas Chidzomba, took the surprising step of dismantling the equipment for a borehole he had drilled for the community. Initially, he had locked the borehole, but later he made the decision to remove the equipment altogether.
We do not know how much Chidzomba used to drill the borehole in Chinhoyi. While the cost can vary depending on various factors such as the depth of the borehole, geological conditions, and the drilling company hired, generally, it ranges from approximately US$3,000 to US$10,000 or more.
Chidzomba received criticism from community members who viewed his actions as a sign of his lack of dedication to the people. People expressed disappointment, suggesting that individuals like him should not hold leadership positions. Some even suggested charging him for vandalism and requiring him to restore the borehole through community service.
In contrast, other unsuccessful ZANU PF candidates, such as Pedzai Scot Sakupwanya and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, reportedly left the services intact. Sakupwanya even released a statement expressing his determination to fulfil the promises he made during the election campaign. He encouraged residents to reach out to his office for any assistance and pledged to support the winning opposition candidate in developing the constituency.
During election campaigns in Zimbabwe, politicians often undertake developmental projects to gain public support. These projects aim to address various societal needs and demonstrate the politicians’ commitment to improving people’s lives. Some examples include:
- Infrastructure Development: Politicians may focus on building roads, schools, hospitals, bridges, and other public infrastructure. These projects aim to enhance connectivity and access to essential services.
- Water and Sanitation: Efforts may be made to provide clean drinking water, construct boreholes, install water pumps, and improve sanitation facilities in communities lacking these basic amenities.
- Agriculture and Rural Development: Politicians may support initiatives to boost agricultural productivity, such as providing farming inputs, irrigation systems, and training programs. The goal is to improve food security and income generation in rural areas. ZANU PF has been doing this for a very long time.
- Education and Skills Development: Projects may involve building or renovating schools, libraries, and vocational training centres. Scholarships, bursaries, and educational resources might also be provided to enhance access to quality education and skills training.
- Health and Social Welfare: Politicians may focus on improving healthcare facilities, supplying medical equipment, and ensuring the availability of essential medicines. In Mabvuku/Tafara, Sakupwanya is said to have brought doctors to treat residents of varying sicknesses free of charge. They may also support social welfare programs that address poverty alleviation and the needs of vulnerable groups.
- Despite their efforts in implementing developmental initiatives, politicians can still face electoral defeat due to various factors. These include their personal history, the political party they represent, and the popularity of their opponents. Past controversies or perceived shortcomings can diminish voter trust, and corruption is a significant factor that drives voters to support alternative candidates. In the case of Sakupwanya, the Gold Mafia documentary by Al Jazeera, which implicated him in gold smuggling, may have impacted his electoral prospects negatively.
- The reputation and standing of political parties can impact election results. Rural areas tend to support ZANU PF, while major cities lean towards opposition parties. This makes it challenging for opposition candidates in rural areas and ZANU PF candidates in cities, regardless of their qualifications.
- Additionally, the charisma, popularity, and track record of opponents play a significant role. Winning elections requires a combination of effective policies, public perception, strategic campaigning, and the ability to connect with constituents.