MDC Cry Foul After Bikita By-Elections Defeat
The MDC which on Friday said were confident of winning yesterday’s by-elections, has turned around and claimed that the by-elections for Nyanga South Constituency Ward 26 and Bikita East Constituency Ward 31 were not held in a level play field.
The party, which lost both by-elections to Zanu-PF, claims that there was intimidation of voters and vote buying.
MDC Secretary for elections Jacob Mafume, said: “We want to place it on record that the election environment is still characterised by closure of democratic space and abuse of State entities to the benefit Zanu PF.
“Our vice national chairman was arrested for statements made on the campaign trial. This creates barriers for free campaigns but more importantly the episode was meant to intimidate the people of Bikita.”
On Friday, Jacob Mafume said his party was confident of winning the poll.
“We have done two rallies there and our teams worked throughout last weekend to drum-up support. We are confident that if Zec is impartial, independent and does not allow people to be intimidated, does not allow people to be bought, (does not allow) assisted voters to multiply, food to be distributed on election day, then we will win the Bikita by-election,” he said.
MDC held the seat from 2008 to 2013 when it lost it to Zanu PF.
Mafume said the party had done its homework and is set to win back the seat.
“Previously (2013 elections), it was affected by double candidates. Now, we have a single candidate. We have got our own agents who are trained. They are ready to stop any mischief,” he said.
Mafume claimed that the opposition had become more popular due to Zanu PF’s bad policies.
“It is now clear to all and sundry that Zanu PF has failed. They no longer allow those in rural areas to sell their maize. There are no jobs. There is no education, and there is no electricity; there is also no good healthcare. With all this, no person in their right mind can vote for Zanu PF,” he said.
In May this year, MDC Alliance won the Mutasa constituency ward 10 by-elections but lost the Cowdray Park, Bulawayo by-elections.
The Bikita ward by-election is held when MDC deputy national chairman, Job Sikhala, is in remand prison, charged with subversion of a constitutionally elected government.
He had remarked that his party would overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa before scheduled elections in 2023.