MDC has landslide Mpopoma by-election win

With Robert Mugabe still claiming to have achieved an over-whelming victory' in his one horse race, the MDC has trounced him in the Mpopoma / Pelandaba by-election.

The MDC Tsvangirai candidate, Samuel Sandla-Khumalo, won by a large majority of 3 795 votes over his closest rival, the ZANU-PF candidate Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, who received 1 354 votes. MDC Mutambara candidate Dumisani Gwetu received 296 votes in this seat, which was previously held by the MDC Mutambara’s Milford Gwetu who died in March. There were a total of eight candidates vying for this seat, including well-known local lawyer Job Sibanda who stood as an independent.
The MDC had been campaigning heavily for the Mpopoma /Pelandaba by-election, while urging it’s supporters to boycott the presidential poll. Although the turnout at the polls was lower than usual, there were still a larger number of voters than at other stations around the country. Voters are reported to have asked for by-election ballot papers but most refused to take the presidential ballots.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us that in Gwanda South, where another by-election took place, two MDC polling agents were abducted yesterday and  their whereabouts remain unknown. The MDC Tsvangirai candidate did not secure a seat in the area.
In Redcliffe, previously an MDC constituency, both MDC candidates failed to win and only succeeded in splitting the vote.
Our correspondent reported the presence of unmarked vehicles with no license plates that have been seen around the country and are known to carry ZPF operatives who have been abducting MDC members and other innocent civilians. He also said that in many areas Morgan Tsvangirai still managed to win in the presidential race, despite his withdrawal.
In the Queens Park area of Bulawayo at the Thomas Rudland Polling station, according to results posted outside, Morgan Tsvangirai secured 100 votes to Mugabe’s 120. There were 30 spoiled papers, which had been defaced with words like murderer’ and umbalali,’ as well as many obscene references to Mugabe’s anatomy and his mother’s anatomy.
Although voting in Bulawayo was relatively calm, there were some disturbing reports of de-campaigning. The MDC Mutambara candidate for the Mpopoma / Pelandaba seat, Dumani Gwetu and the former deputy Mayor Angilacala Ndlovu are both reported to have been de-campaigning the winning MDC Tsvangirai candidate, Samuel Sandla-Khumalo. The two were said to have been driving around the area with a loudspeaker saying that Sandla Khumalo was a criminal and that he was facing prosecution, and encouraging people to vote for Gwetu.
In Binga, 200 people are reported to have been beaten and had their ID’s taken to prevent them from voting. In Mberengwa people had to give their names and then they were given serialised ballot papers, which they were told would be checked later. They were then herded to the polling booths.
Lionel said unlike many other areas, in Bulawayo there were no reports of ZANU-PF gangs exacting revenge and beating those who did not have the tell-tale red ink on their fingers. He described there as being generally calm, but he said that the calm did not symbolise consent, but rather the calmness was deceiving.’ He said people were hoping for outside intervention because the opposition was not armed, and can’t take on Robert Mugabe.’

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