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Zanupf activists in Midlands in heated exchanges after election loss to CCC

Zanu PF activists in the Midlands province last week exchanged heated words over the loss of three urban parliamentary seats in last weekend’s by election with some attributing it (loss) to failure in telling the top leadership the truth about the needs of the urbanite electorate, The Gweru Gazette reports.

There were five parliamentary seats up for grabs in the province but Zanu PF managed to win two rural constituencies namely Gokwe Central and Mberengwa South while the ruling party lost dismally in Gweru’s Mkoba, Kwekwe Central and Mbizo respectively.

In Mkoba the Nelson Chamisa led Citizens Coalition for Change candidate Amos Chibaya garnered 6809 votes trouncing Zanu PF’s William Gondo who managed 2613.

In Kwekwe Central the opposition’s Judith Tobaiwa beat Zanu PF’s John Mapurazi by 6639 to 2883 votes respectively while in Mbizo CCC’s settlement Chikwinya won by 7146 votes against the ruling party’s Vongai Mupereri who got 3232 votes.

Although Zanu PF has been celebrating the outcome of the polls, unamused party cadres from the province said the results “exposed the ruling party’s shortfalls.”

Some activists felt their candidates could have performed better had the party put its house in order prior to last year’s internal primary plebiscite and before last week’s by elections.

In Whatsaap discussions in various groups created prior to the ruling party’s last year primary elections and subsequent last week’s by elections,the activists accused each other of failure to deal with “economic fundamentals” that affect voters in urban areas as well as internal squabbles within the party.

“If you look at the effort we put in campaigning in Mkoba the boreholes drilled, the roads rehabilitated and the general response from the people it doesn’t tally well with the result,”one party activist said.

But another party cadre disagreed saying “urbanites don’t buy such strategy.”

She was seconded by another activist who said to win the urban vote Zanu PF needed to address key economic fundamentals.

“I agree on unity (of the party) but we need to get the economic fundamentals right. People in urban areas want bread and butter on their tables.

“There is need to make sure that the industries resume operations so that ideal youths get jobs and their standard of living improve,”he said.

He added:”CCC is riding on the economy and once we correct that and bring stability to prices any of our candidates can nail it (winning urban seats).”

But others felt that the income generating projects doled by Zanu PF to its supporters (especially towards elections) were enough to sustain lives but there was need to address the party’s internal problems.

“In Kwekwe we shot ourselves in the foot as there were many internal battles in the run up to the by-election which saw the party ending up imposing a candidate,”said the activist.

“Such instances see people developing grudges and it affects our performance come election day. Others even fail to forgive each other if they disagree during primary elections.”

Others however felt there was need to consolidate the party’s cell structures which they felt were not “taken seriously by the party leadership.”

“We end up having recurring rhetoric that the party is stronger at cell level but in reality it’s a top-bottom approach,”said an activist.

But an upbeat Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa last week said the ruling party was the biggest winner as he said it snatched two parliamentary seats, Epworth and Mutasa South once held by the opposition.

“Led by President Mnangagwa, the governing party has launched an urban renewal agenda,”he said.

Mutsvangwa said Zanu PF was in urban areas rehabilitating roads, addressing water challenges through boreholes drilling with “title deeds on the cards.”

Opposition activists however blame the ruling party for ruining the economy through corruption, interference in predominantly CCC run urban local authorities and political intolerance.

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