Zimbabwe’s opposition wins crucial by-election ahead of 2023 general election

Person voting

by Tafara Mugwara

HARARE, March 28 ,Xinhua, Zimbabwe’s opposition party won the majority of parliamentary and municipal seats in a key by-election held Saturday.

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa won 75 out of 122 council seats and 19 out of 28 parliamentary seats that were up for grabs in the by-election, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The party’s overall performance was 64.75 percent.

The delayed election was mostly necessitated by recalls from parliament and municipal jurisdictions by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) due to party infighting after the 2018 general election.

The Chamisa-led faction rebranded to CCC two months ago following disagreements over the party name.

Despite losing most seats to the opposition, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF), led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, retained all the seats it won in the 2018 general election.

The governing party, which has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, also maintained its tight grip on rural constituencies where it enjoys massive support. The party also made inroads in some traditional opposition strongholds by grabbing two parliamentary seats won by the opposition in 2018.
Voter turnout was also relatively higher in rural areas where ZANU-PF dominates.

The opposition, which is seen as a major challenger to the ruling party, consolidated its historical grip in urban areas.

With the latest wins, CCC becomes the third-largest party in the national assembly after ZANU-PF and the MDC-T, which remains the official opposition party.

ZANU-PF already controls the National Assembly with a two-thirds majority after winning 145 seats from the available 210 seats in the August 2018 elections.

The highly contested by-elections were seen as a rehearsal for next year’s harmonized elections in which Mnangagwa will face off with his main rival Chamisa.

The ZEC in 2020 suspended the holding of by-elections in line with government COVID-19 regulations. Enditem

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