Professor Jonathan Moyo’s recommendations that Dr Thokozani Khupe withdraw from running against Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, as the latter has a better chance of developing Cowdray Park, have been ridiculed by the opposition and several analysts who believe Zanu PF is to blame for underdevelopment in the city.
Khupe will most likely represent the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) for the Cowdray Park seat, a contest in which Prof Moyo stated that she “will be well advised not to take a dive into” because “Prof Ncube is the best possible candidate for Cowdray Park and the region.”
Without disparaging Dr Khupe’s candidacy, Prof. Moyo contended that elections should be won by the most qualified and well-positioned candidates, in this case, the finance minister.
“It is manifestly clear that Prof Ncube deserves support from everyone not only in Cowdray Park but also across the region, including and particularly from Dr Khupe. It is not an indictment of Dr Khupe but an acknowledgement of the objective reality on the ground in Cowdray Park and the region that there is really hardly much that she would be able to do differently or better now for either the constituency or the region which she has not been able to do since 2000, when she first went to Parliament,” he said on his Twitter platform.
Prof Moyo’s notions were, however, disputed by CCC Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza.
“Ever since Jonathan Moyo made an offer to train polling agents which the CCC was slow to respond to, he has been acidic on social media and continues fighting with the CCC,” he said.
According to Chirowodza, there are some manipulative elements that could lead to a Zanu PF victory in Cowdray but not on the basis of merit.
“If Zanu PF had any chances of winning Cowdray Park, it would be due to the allotment of stands through the Garikai/Hlalali Kuhle housing saga, which gave stands to Border Gezi recruits and the army. After Murambatsvina, the government pretended there was a housing programme that benefitted citizens but it was designed to cushion the army and Border Gezi graduates,” he claimed.
The displacement of people’s names on the voter’s roll said Chirowodza, also reversed the gains made in trying to democratise the vote and bring polling stations closer to people since voters previously travelled long distances.
“Now the displacement of voters which looks deliberate is something we think may bring false patterns and also the transportation of voters from the rural areas to urban areas where they are not resident is most likely to change patterns. Those are the most likely reasons that can cause an upset in the voting patterns in Cowdray Park,” Chirowodza said.
“To suggest that Khupe will lose per se is to say Mthuli Ncube has a better brand than Khupe. Ceteri paribus (all other things being constant), if we, as CCC were to field a donkey against Mthuli Ncube, the CCC donkey, will win because of the brand CCC.”
Political analyst, Bernard Magugu, felt Prof Moyo was losing focus as development in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe had not come under Zanu PF.
“Prof Moyo is an indirectly interested party because he supports Zanu, so would always speak on their side. The idea in Bulawayo, Matabeleland and Midlands provinces is to keep Zanu out of those provinces because Zanu has been a great impediment and albatross in the development of this country,” he said.
Magugu stated Zanu PF has been in power since 1980 but “nothing has come out for people in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, Matabeleland, Midlands and other provinces.”
“To allow Zanu to creep into power, there is a problem there. Khupe must assist to keep Zanu out of Cowdray Park. Mthuli is keeping civil servants hungry by paying them in RTGS when he himself does not pay himself such.”
Another political expert, Effie Ncube, noted that Prof Moyo was contributing to an ongoing, uncomfortable and “very” hard debate about the politics of Matabeleland regarding the debilitating poverty, hunger and unemployment in the region.
“This is a question that has been asked again and again, albeit in hushed voices. Independence has not served the people of Matabeleland and every election since has not delivered for the poorest of the poor,” Ncube said.
“For example, independence brought the Gukurahundi genocide and immense economic dislocation. The question is whether politics in the region is responding to those lived realities or it is now responding to external pressures and guidance at the cost of local interests.”
Ncube said every political party and people of Matabeleland themselves must answer this question, of which at the top of that question was the role of Zanu PF.
“The vote for Zanu PF in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South has not translated into development, freedom and justice either. Needless to say, it is under the leadership of Zanu PF that Matabeleland is at the tail-end of development. The poorest districts are in Matabeleland. Extreme hunger and poverty are highest in Matabeleland. This is not a result of opposition politics but rather a product of misgovernance at national level,” he echoed.
“That said, thinking and acting locally in order to influence nationally is a global trend. Local interests must come first. Any politics that does not is useless politics.”
A local activist, Mbuso Fuzwayo, said it was unfortunate for Prof Moyo to suggest that Prof Ncube will bring development to Cowdray Park when the central government through Murambatsvina created the chaos seen in that constituency.
“After causing chaos, they later handed it to council. Mthuli, as the manager of the government purse, has failed to repair national roads. The health sector is failing l don’t understand how he will develop a constituency which must be developed by the local authority,” he said.
Critical studies scholar, Dr Khanyile Mlotshwa said he could follow what Prof Moyo is trying to say but it was “nonsense considering that Mthuli has failed to do anything for the people of Zimbabwe as Minister of Finance.”
“What has he achieved? At least Dr Khupe managed to have maternity fees waived at some point as Deputy Prime Minister. The women have not forgotten that,” he said.
On the other hand, another commentator, Patrick Ndlovu said Prof Moyo is “completely on point” and questioned what Dr Khuphe achieved for Bulawayo since she went to Parliament over 20 years ago.
“It’s just a means of living for her and her family. Mthuli hasn’t been in Parliament as a representative before. He has shown that he has the financial muscle to do something for his constituency,” he said.