Lack of resources, financial constraints and false promises from sponsors conspired to embarrass the independent candidate in Binga North’s by-election on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Disciple Munkuli was running against four other candidates but acknowledges that political campaigning is a costly process that requires lots of resources to reach more people.
Munkuli only received 220 votes while the incumbent Prince Dubeko Sibanda of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) won the Binga North seat by 10 130 votes.
The other candidates, Kudakwashe Mavula Munsaka of ZANU-PF received 7 971 votes while Peggy Mudimba of the MDC Alliance polled 356.
Munkuli, however, did manage to defeat Clive Muzamba of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party who garnered 136 votes.
However, this defeat has not deterred Munkuli who said it was a learning curve on how electoral processes run and how political campaigns in the country are handled.
“The voting process was good. I am satisfied with what I got. It is equivalent to my effort. Actually, l am surprised because I thought l would not get even a single vote,” he said, after previously noting that people expect to be given incentives by politicians, and do not vote if not given something.”
Munkuli said unlike his competitors he did not manage to go and meet people for campaigns due to financial challenges.
“Our sponsors didn’t manage to fulfil their promises. So, l used WhatsApp to campaign whilst only few people have smartphones in the area and to make matters worse there is no network,” he noted, highlighting that his campaign was limited to online media.
Although he did try to share his posters, he failed to distribute them to each and every ward.
However, Munkuli maintains the results he received motivated him “a lot” and remains optimistic that this is a start.
“Chances of winning were very high, the only problem is that l didn’t meet many people. People made calls that I must go and meet them but l failed. I hope and believe that next time I will win,” he said, adding he would certainly run again next year in the 2023 elections.
“Yes, I will. I could have won or come second, because of certain reasons l got this. I am working on my weaknesses to make sure that next time I make it.”
During his campaign, Munkuli, working with other locals, successfully appealed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to provide electoral information and posters in their native Tonga language.
Most of the posters flighted by ZEC in Binga regarding the biometric voters’ registration exercise were written in Ndebele or Shona, which are not the local’s native languages.
Read more: https://cite.org.zw/binga-voters-want-electoral-material-in-local-languages/