With the impending March 2022 by-elections it is important to be updated on the electoral intricacies of constituencies. in this By-elections Watch ERC gives us insights into some of the constituencies which will be part of the looming election. Read on for more.
Kwekwe Central comprises 8 wards in total, with ward 6 under ZANU PF control while the remaining 4 wards are controlled by MDC Alliance. There are 3 council vacancies following the deaths of MDC Alliance councillors representing ward 8 and 9 and the recall of Kwekwe Central Mayor, Angeline Kasipo representing ward 10. Politically, former Member of Parliament and MDC Alliance losing candidate in 2018 Blessing Chebundo has since shifted political allegiances to ZANU PF, potentially impacting on the strength of the opposition vote.
The death of incumbent MP Matambanadzo who represented the National Patriotic Front (NPF) and the crossing of former MDC Alliance candidate Blessing Chebundo presents a unique opportunity for both ruling and opposition parties to consolidate control. Yet it is still to be seen whether ZANU PF will reclaim its voters who had shifted political allegiances to Matambanadzo and the NPF following the dismissal of Matambanadzo from ZANU PF in March 2018, just before the 2018 Harmonised Election.
A focal point for the constituency is the gold mines and illegal gold panning which has grown to unprecedented levels in recent times and has resulted in high levels of violence including intra and inter-party violence in a bid for political and trade control within the region. Economic shifts and a mass migration of artisanal miners, the death of popular NPF Member of Parliament Matambanadzo Masango, the presence of the infamous “MaShurugwi” (violent Machete gangs in gold mining communities), as well as the presence of former Minister of State Security Owen Ncube within the constituency has changed the political complexion of the constituency, with the constituency viewed as a potential hotbed of politically motivated violence.
The presence of “MaShurugwi” remains of concern as the groupings could be activated politically to assist the regime through violence and intimidation and could perpetuate conflict for purposes that conform with their specific political agendas
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Source: Election Resource Centre