The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) managed to win all the vacant seats in Bulawayo at the March 26 by-elections held Saturday that were however characterised by low voter turnout.
Bulawayo had eight vacant local authority seats – Ward 8, Ward 9, Ward 12 Ward 18, Ward 19, Ward 20, Ward 21 and Ward 26 including two parliamentary constituencies – Pumula and Nkulumane.
Describing itself as a new political party after doing away with name MDC Alliance, the CCC was one of the main actors in this by-election.
Other parties that were part of the main act were the ruling Zanu PF party and MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora, which was now contesting the by-elections under the name, MDC Alliance.
But results from the polls showed that the race was mainly between CCC and Zanu PF as the MDC Alliance delivered a poor showing, as some of its candidates actually received zero votes at various polling stations.
Here are the results:
In Ward 8, Edwin Ndlovu of CCC won by 1356 votes, Zanu PF’s Nomusa Loveness Ndlovu had 481 votes while Tobias Nyambanje of MDC Alliance polled 160 votes.
In Ward 9, CCC’s Donaldson Mabutho received 1 679 votes, Zanu PF’s Lovemore Munyamana managed 605 votes and MDC Alliance’s John Gasela Sindela Mhlanga had 99 votes.
In Ward 12 Lillian Mlilo of CCC received 989 votes against 583 votes of Zanu PF’s Mary Ncube while Visitor Ndebele of MDC Alliance managed 61 votes.
In Ward 18 Concilia Mlalazi of CCC won by 760 votes, Enock Madimure from Zanu PF 483 votes and MDC Alliance’s Sibonakaliso Tshuma received 57 votes.
In Ward 19, CCC’s Christopher Dube won by 1 015 votes, Zanu PF’s Ntando Moyo received 487 votes and MDC Alliance’s Peter Ncube had 73 votes.
In Ward 20, Ernest RafaMoyo of CCC won by 945 votes, Freedom Thabo Thwala of Zanu PF received 829 votes and Ethel Sibanda of MDC Alliance polled 68 votes.
In Ward 21, Tinevimbo Maphosa of CCC won by 1 857 votes, Janet Moyo 682 of Zanu PF and Geshom Zimba Yokonya of MDC alliance had 119 votes.
In Ward 26 where CCC had fielded double candidates, Mpumelelo Moyo won by 748 votes while the other party’s candidate, the recalled former councillor Norman Hlabano had 261 votes.
Zanu PF’s Lungisani Sibanda received 418 votes in the ward while MDC Alliance’s Simangele Ndebele polled 57 votes.
For the Nkulumane MP seat, CCC’s Kucaca Phulu returned to Parliament as he won by 2 760 votes while his Zanu PF counterpart David Ndlovu received 1 900 while MDC Alliance’s Gideon Mangena had only 150 votes.
In Pumula Constituency which was tightly contested by seven MP candidates, Sichelesile Mahlangu of CCC won by 3 092 votes, followed by Pumulani Nsingo of Zanu PF with 1 212 votes while Albert Mhlanga of MDC Alliance only received 110 votes.
Observers have said the low voter turnout signals that if the opposition were to defeat Zanu PF by a huge margin across the country, it must not relax going forward but continuously urge people to register and actually vote since the by-elections are considered a test run for the 2023 elections.
There were a total of 28 parliamentary and 122 local government seats that were under contention for the by-elections.
The polls were held amid concerns from the opposition parties and civic organisation groups including election watchdogs over the credibility of the voters’ roll after a number of discrepancies and anomalies were uncovered.