Record low turnout as MDC gets 6

The party won an expected landslide victory in a weekend senate election, partly boycotted by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, gaining 40 of the 46 senate seats whose results had been announced. The MDC faction heavily lost even in traditional strongholds of the party,

winning only six seats.

The ruling party controls another 16 seats in the upper chamber because Mugabe appoints six senators while pro-government traditional chiefs appoint another 10 senators.

Matebeleland provinces once again snubbed Zanu (PF). MDC scooped all the five senatorial seats in Bulawayo province. The Pumula senate constituency was won by Fanuel Bayeye, Pelandaba was taken by Greenfield Nyoni, Thabiso Ndhlovu gained the Lobengula Magwegwe seat with Sibangilizwe Msipa coming good in Makokoba and Rita Ndlovu in Nkulumane constituency.

The opposition party, however, lost seats in the traditional Zanu (PF) strongholds such as Insiza,Gwanda and Beitbridge.

The analysts said the poor turnout was not only an indication that Zimbabweans will not be diverted from the real problems afflicting their lives, it was also a damaging blow to Mugabes credibility particularly because opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had called on voters to boycott the poll.

The voter stayaway was also a potentially fatal blow to MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube who led a faction of the opposition party that revolted against Tsvangirai and fielded candidates in 26 of the 50 senate constituencies.

The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic alliance Lovemore Madhuku said the voter boycott had not only shown ordinary citizens unwillingness to be diverted from real issues but had generated a momentum that could see a greater push by Zimbabweans for wider democratic reforms.

He said: The fact that most people did not vote shows that people are not buying into Zanu (PF) propaganda which is designed to divert peoples attention from the real reforms necessary to redeem Zimbabwe from certain demise.

Madhuku, whose NCA campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, added: We must ensure that we keep the momentum of active resistance to push Mugabe to initiate reforms.

And at the weekend, very few people particularly in urban areas bothered to vote as many were preoccupied with the search for food, fuel or commodities.

For example, at one polling station near a bank in the second largest city of Bulawayo, there were several times more people queuing in the banking hall than the five people ZimOnline reporters saw at the polling booth.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe said the powerful labour body had urged workers to boycott the poll because it was time for us to show that we cannot be fooled by these unnecessary political events which add no value to our survival. – ZimOnline

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