Zanu PF wins Chiredzi South by-election
Kallisto Gwanetsa is the new Member of Parliament for the area after beating off competition from the two opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidates, and a third contestant from the United People's Party which has historically done well in the constituency.
Gwanetsa polled 10 401 while Emaculate Makondo, of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, gained 3 300 votes. Maekani Chauke of UPP had 896 votes while Nehemiah Zenamwe from the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara managed 674 votes.
Election officials reported 332 spoiled ballots.
The election was marred by poor voter turn-out, with just 29 percent of the registered voters turning up to cast their ballots.
The opposition MDC had already dismissed the election as a farce.
A spokesman for the Tsvangirai-faction of the MDC claimed that 50 of their polling officers had been removed from polling stations.
"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission refused to accept our polling agents arguing that they had not seen a published list of their names as required by law," said Ian Makone, a party spokesman.
"This is despite the fact that the agents’ names were published in The Daily Mirror of Friday, 16 February 2007, and it is the duty of ZEC to make sure presiding officers at polling stations get the list.
"Starting with this election, the regime has started using erasable ink as opposed to indelible ink. As a result, Zanu PF supporters have been voting more than once in Chiredzi and the election cannot be said to be free and fair."
The MDC renewed calls for an independent elections body to oversee the conduct of elections.
Makone added: "The MDC believes that the solution lies in creating impartial institutions that run elections. The solution to the national crisis lies in a new, people-driven Constitution, free and fair elections under international supervision, reconstruction and stabilisation in post-transitional era.
"Otherwise, if we continue to run elections the Chiredzi way, we will remain stuck in this unmitigated crisis. A new Zimbabwe is our mandate."
Zanu PF traditionally
performs better in rural constituencies, but the Chiredzi victory will
raise new questions over opposition tactics and their appeal to the
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