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Zanu-PF will win, says NCA

By Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
ZANU-PF will win the forthcoming harmonised elections basing on the referendum voting patterns, National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Professor Lovemore Madhuku has said.

Prof Madhuku made the remarks at a discussion forum at Sapes Trust in Harare last night. Zanu-PF was represented by Cde Godwills Masimirembwa while the MDC-T was represented by its secretary-general, Mr Tendai Biti.

The discussion was about the significance of the referendum results in the balance of power for the harmonised elections. Voting trends in the referendum showed most Zanu-PF strongholds in rural areas delivering high turnouts to drive the "Yes Vote" with MDCT- dominated urban areas recording low endorsement in some areas.

Analysts posited that if the referendum results mirrored the impending harmonised elections, then Zanu-PF was poised for a landslide victory. "My impression was that most votes were Zanu-PF until I heard Dr (Ibbo) Mandaza saying Tendai (Biti) thinks they were MDC-T," said Prof Madhuku.

He said Harare province, which is considered an MDC-T stronghold, may have recorded the highest vote, but most of the people who voted were unregistered voters.

"It is in the rural areas where votes matter, especially in Mashonaland East province, in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West. In Harare, there will be a low voter turnout because some people will not be registered while rural areas will maintain a high voter turnout.

"In the MDC-T strongholds there was so much resistance (at the referendum), especially in Matabeleland provinces. I did not also hear of people who got to the polling station and said they wanted their vote to be cast on Tsvangirai, but it was very common to hear people saying they wanted their vote to be cast on President Mugabe," Prof Madhuku said.

He said from his analysis, MDC-T was not going to win the plebiscite.

The University of Zimbabwe law lecturer said they would not sympathise with the MDC-T's calls for a delayed poll, saying the party abandoned them when they protested the referendum. He said claims by MDC-T that they needed more time were uncalled for considering that the NCA did not get sufficient time to campaign for a "NO" vote.

Prof Madhuku said the harmonised elections were likely to be held towards the end of June or by mid-July. Cde Masimirembwa said it was clear that most people who voted at the referendum belonged to Zanu-PF.

"Those people believe that now is the time for them to defend what they fought for during the liberation struggle. The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. That vote by the people was an informed vote," said Cde Masimirembwa.

He said it was strange that MDC-T was claiming ownership of the draft constitution when it contained founding principles and values that are synonymous with Zanu-PF. The founding values, he said, stated that Britain was supposed to compensate white former commercial farmers whose land was redistributed to the landless majority.

Cde Masimirembwa said the MDC-T would never push for such an agenda considering its relationship with the former colonisers.

He said it was the prerogative of President Mugabe to proclaim the election date, adding that Zanu-PF would romp to victory in both rural and urban areas.

The life of the current Parliament, he said, would lapse on June 29, hence there was need to have elections before that deadline.

Mr Biti claimed that the constitution- making process was the brainchild of his party since its formation. He said the MDC-T ran a parallel vote counting which, however, had variances with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission results.

"There are, however, disturbing things where we found that in provinces like Midlands, Mashonaland East and Masvingo the number of people who voted at the referendum is more than the number of people reflected in the preliminary results of the population census," he said.

Mr Biti said his party conducted a district by district analysis of the voting patterns at the referendum. He said in Harare province there was a 33 percent gap between registered voters and those who are not registered. Mr Biti claimed that the earliest time that elections could be held was August 15 basing on the number of processes that have to be done before the elections.

He said the forthcoming elections were going to be an issue-based election between indigenisation and job creation. Mr Biti claimed that the polls would experience more political violence than previous ones and reiterated his claim that some people were being trained in Israel to assassinate the MDC-T leadership.

Ironically it is the MDC-T which is likely to have closer ties with Israel on account of its western linkages as Zanu- PF is inclined towards Palestine. Some of the people who contributed said Zanu-PF was likely to win the elections given its capacity to mobilise the rural voters.

Several recent surveys that have given Zanu-PF the edge over its coalition government partner, the MDC-T. In September last year, the UK-based pro-MDC-T group, Zimbabwe Vigil, said the MDC-T was likely to lose the forthcoming harmonised elections because of rampant corruption within its top leadership among other issues.

Zimbabwe Virgil's damning assessment of MDC-T's electoral chances came hard on the heels of two unflattering surveys by the US-based group, Freedom House, and Afro barometer that said President Mugabe and Zanu-PF would win polls ahead of Mr Tsvangirai and the MDCT. The Freedom House survey, that was released in August, said support for the MDC-T had fallen from 38 percent in 2010 to 20 percent this year while support for Zanu-PF grew to 31 percent from 17 percent, over the same period.

The survey also said that President Mugabe would command the support of 31 percent of voters in a presidential election, compared to 19 percent for Mr Tsvangirai.

The survey said Zanu-PF had clear programmes such as the land reform and other empowerment programmes to sell to the electorate while the "Change" mantra pushed by MDC-T had lost steam.

The Afro barometer survey, entitled "Voting Intentions in Zimbabwe: A Margin of Terror?", also put Zanu-PF ahead of MDC-T, but said another coalition government was likely. Another survey carried out later in the year, in November, by the Mass Public Opinion Institute and released in February this year said Zanu PF would win the parliamentary elections with 33 percent of the vote to 32 percent for the MDC-T.


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