2023 Polls: Parties Tussle For Rural Vote

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’s rural areas, long considered Zanu PF quarters, are set to be the major playground for major political parties after the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) launched a massive programme aimed at mobilising the rural vote.

Already, the party enjoys a lion’s share of the urban vote but, as has been the case since the year 2000, the rural vote has been decisive in major polls.

The Nelson Chamisa-led outfit now says it is priming itself to cause a major upset in these Zanu PF citadels in a mobilisation exercise, code-named Mugwazo.

“We have launched a massive recruitment and mobilisation exercise called Mugwazo. We are meeting ordinary citizens in rural areas. This is a nationwide programme where we are mobilising people to register to vote and recruiting them to the CCC party,” CCC interim secretary for rural mobilisation, Happymore Chidziva.

He said so far CCC had covered Mashonaland East province where it interacted with people from Murewa, Mutoko and Uzumba.

“We are targeting every district in Zimbabwe.  Right now, I am in Hwedza together with leaders from Mashonaland East, Charlton Hwende (interim CCC secretary-general) and Murisi Zwizai (Harare Central MP). We have been distributing fliers. Chamisa has highlighted the need to amplify the CCC rural strategy and stressed that CCC’s major thrust would be to grow the rural vote, with an immediate inundation strategy of rural areas to mobilise youths to register to vote,” he said.

Chidziva said the meetings have been largely peaceful.

Last year, during his meet the people tours around the country and before CCC was formed, Chamisa encountered several violent attempts, including being shot at by alleged Zanu PF supporters, often backed by armed police.

Many of his supporters were beaten up resulting in them being hospitalised.

“Zanu PF thrives on intimidation and instils fear in rural folks. The party has been winning elections through coercion. We are telling rural folks that their vote is a secret and if they really want their lives to be improved, they should join CCC,” Chidziva said.

But Zanu PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said the ruling party was not bothered about what CCC does.

“We are not going to lose sleep over what MDC or CCC does. We are the governing party. Our focus is on winning the elections in 2023. Our focus is to fulfil the promises we made to our people. Our focus is to improve the lives of ordinary people in Zimbabwe,” Mugwadi said.