ZANU PF cruised to an expected victory in Bulawayo, claiming all the five seats in by-elections boycotted by the main opposition parties.
The results mean that the ruling party has won a parliamentary seat in the city for the first time since 2000.
The decision by the MDCs to boycott the election, seen by observers as the worst political decision, has given Zanu PF a foothold in the city which it might use to fight for the total control of Bulawayo in the 2018 general elections.
Since the announcement of the poll date by President Robert Mugabe, Zanu PF went on full throttle in a bid to woo the residents to vote for the party they have rejected for over a decade.
Led by the two vice presidents, Phelekezela Mphoko and Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu PF went on a campaign trail, launching several projects and even hijacking the Highlanders Football Club bus handover ceremony to drum up support for the party’s Makokoba candidate Tshinga Dube, a long time Bulawayo team benefactor who was instrumental in the purchase of the vehicle.
Tshinga must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when the official results came through considering his failed bid to land the seat in two past elections despite splashing thousands of dollars.
The retired colonel polled 1667 votes while his nearest rival, Sibangilizwe Msipa, polled 265 votes. Other candidates were Jonathan Ndlovu (164 votes), Joan Dlodlo (31 votes), Marbel Ngwenya (2 votes), Sehlelo Nkomo (24 votes) and Wilson Harry Peter (21 votes).
In Mpopoma, Zanu PF’s Joseph Tshuma got 2050 votes with Strike Mkandla of Zapu polling 726 votes. Sokhaya Mabhena of the National Constitutional Assembly got a paltry 14 votes while Andrea Banda of Transform Zimbabwe polled 67 votes, Vusumuzi Mabhikwa 61 votes and George Mkwena 109 votes.
Zanu PF’s Maidei Mpala claimed the Lobengula constituency seat with 1976 votes, her nearest rival, Casper Sibanda of Zapu, getting 492 votes. Former MDC-T MP, Njabuliso Mguni, who was standing as an independent candidate, only managed 301 votes and Jane Mbewe 51 votes.
In Luveve, Ntandoyenkosi Mlilo of Zanu PF garnered 1765 votes against Nyamambi Amon Dube of Zapu, who polled 562 votes. Mkhululi Nyathi got 522 votes, Thubelihle Sibanda, 199, Fanuel Tshuma of Transform Zimbabwe 35 votes, Morgan Ntuli of National Constitutional Assembly 28 votes and Willias Dube 120 votes.
In Pumula, Godfrey Malaba of Zanu PF polled 2477 votes while Albert Mhlanga, a former Member of Parliament who stood as an independent, only managed 134 votes. Michael Bathandi Mpofu of Zapu 777 got votes, Morrison Maluso of Transform Zimbabwe 73 votes, Jackson Lunga 23 votes, Misheck Ncube 89 votes and Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu 24 votes.