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Chamisa penultimate rally set for Bulawayo

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa, returns to Bulawayo today to seek votes from the city’s residents ahead of the Wednesday harmonised election.

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader, Nelson Chamisa, returns to Bulawayo today to seek votes from the city’s residents ahead of the Wednesday  harmonised election.

Bulawayo has remained an opposition stronghold for years, with Zanu PF failing to win seats in the city since the formation of the opposition MDC in 1999.

In 2018, the MDC Alliance then led by Chamisa won all council seats in the city.

The opposition party, however, lost  the Bulawayo South parliamentary seat after fielding two candidates. 

Zanu PF recorded its first win in Bulawayo in years in 2015 after winning all five constituencies in by-elections boycotted by the MDC.

Although the five constituencies had over 100,000 registered voters, Zanu PF only got a total of 11,450 in all the constituencies.

In 2018, Zanu PF won a council seat in Cowdray Park in a by-election following the death of an MDC Alliance sitting councillor.

Today, Chamisa will address supporters at White City Stadium before winding up his campaign in Harare tomorrow.

Chamisa, however, has a daunting task in convincing voters where there are double candidates in in Tshabalala- Pelandaba, Entumbane- Njube and Pumula constituency.

There are also double candidates for some local government seats in some suburbs.

Senior Bulawayo resident and educationist, Ben Moyo, said Chamisa has to address the issue of double candidates.

“Bulawayo is concerned about double candidates,” Moyo said.

“Bulawayo is concerned that Chamisa's candidates’ selection process did not live up to expectations.”

 Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association secretary for administration, Thembelani Dube, said it was a given that Chamisa will address a capacity crowd.

"If the venue is accessible, people from across the political divide can easily walk and be part of the crowds for both social reasons and exercising their right to listen to his manifesto,” Dube said.

Chamisa launched his manifesto in Bulawayo where he pledged to address the city’s multi-faceted challenges.

Bulawayo suffers from urban decay with collapsing infrastructure.

The country’s second largest city has gone for decades without any new major infrastructural development in the central business district, with the Bulawayo Centre shopping mall being the last after its construction in 1997.

In recent years, a number of companies have been either closing shop or relocating to other cities citing the unresolved water challenges facing the city. Residents currently endure a week-long water shedding regime.

Political commentator Effie Ncube said challenges facing the city presents Chamisa with an opportunity to provide answers when he addresses the rally.

"People expect the opposition to be the opposite of the ruling party,” Ncube said.

“They expect nothing but a complete turnaround on the economy, water supply, power supply, crime rate, human rights, roads and rail infrastructure, education, health care and everything else."

CCC senior member and senate candidate Felix Magalela Mafa Sibanda, expressed confidence that the party will attract a bumper crowd today.

"As the last supper, all roads lead to the White City stadium freely without force or vote buying by chickens, food, water, bread as done by the outgoing Zanu PF," Sibanda said.

"The party president address will cover among others, violence, corruption, command voting, rigging, office abuse by Mthuli Ncube in Cowdray Park and many others in Zanu PF.

“He will talk about devolution of power to locals unlike Zanu PF."

An analysis of the July 2018 harmonised elections by human rights Solidarity Peace Trust showed that the MDC support base in Matabeleland North, South and Bulawayo had dwindled..

According to the SPT, in Bulawayo for the first time since 2000 the MDC recorded less than 50% of the vote in the July 30 elections.

In Matabeleland North, Zanu PF had more votes than the opposition after recording 39,5% of the votes cast compared to the MDC Alliances’ 37,8%.

 In Matabeleland South,  Zanu PF won 53% of the vote compared to the MDC Alliances’ 30.3%.

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