NGO: Chamisa victory not guaranteed; dynamics long changed

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By Staff Reporter

A Chisumbanje-based youth empowerment lobby group, Platform for Youth Development Trust (PYD), which said managed to convince, recruit and register 200 000 virgin voters in Manicaland province for the 30 July national elections has warned MDC Alliance against complacence.

This comes amid beliefs in the opposition, especially the MDC faction led by Nelson Chamisa that young people who registered will vote for them.

“In the previous elections people were looking at two people Robert Mugabe the then Zanu PF President and the late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai with the latter being viewed as a champion of modern democracy, and that alone giving his party less stress in terms of convincing people to vote out Mugabe who would use intimidation and violence to consolidate power,” PYD director Claris Madhuku, told New Zimbabwe in Harare, Wednesday.

“What we have observed during the voter registration process and after the ascendancy of Emerson Mnangagwa where people are being allowed to freely express themselves and associate with whoever they want to associate with, and where political meetings have not been sanctioned, the opposition (MDC) can no longer say they still command the same constituency as the late Tsvangirai used to have,” said Madhuku.

He said the over 200 000 new voters they managed to recruit through sporting, cultural and income generating programmes told them that they had different voting preferences.

“During this exercise we termed #MugangaWedu 2018 which we carried out in Chipinge, Mutare and Mutasa districts where we were mobilizing these young people in batches and groups of 50 per each districts lots of shocking revelations of who they would vote for came out and this showed us that the voting trends have indeed changed,” he said.

“People were telling us that because of a wide choice of political candidates and parties that have expressed interest to contest they were not going to vote for parties but genuine people they know,” said Madhuku.

He also said the opposition was going likely going to lose a number of seats in Manicaland because of the divisions in the MDC-T.

“I had the privilege of attending the nomination court on 14 June of councillors in Chipinge and the nomination court of members of house of assembly in Mutare and I discovered that Zanu PF was by far organised than MDC.

“In Chipinge, the opposition (MDC) has several wards where they failed to field councilors and in the house of assembly the same party fielded more than two candidates in one constituency a development which never happened during Tsvangirai’s era where the opposition was strong,” he said.