Zanu PF gets head start in July elections after winning 46 ward seats unopposed

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By Xinhua

THE ruling Zanu PF party has won 46 local government seats for the July 30 general elections after its candidates filed nomination papers unopposed.

Opposition parties failed to field candidates in some wards in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South Provinces at the nomination courts that sat on June 14.

There are 1,958 wards countrywide.

According to a schedule published by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Tuesday, Zanu PF bagged 19 wards in Mashonaland Central, nine in Mashonaland East and one in Matabeleland North Province.

The party won four wards in Matabeleland South and 13 wards in the Midlands province.

“The candidates listed in part 1 of the schedule were declared duly elected councilors in their respective wards with effect from 30th July, 2018 as no other nomination papers were accepted for the said wards at the close of the nomination courts,” ZEC said.

A record 23 presidential candidates, the highest since independence in 1980, registered for the July vote which will be held in the presence of Western observers for the first time in 16 years.

It is the first election that will not feature former president Robert Mugabe and his long-time nemesis Morgan Tsvangirai who died of cancer in February this year.

Mugabe resigned in November last year following a military intervention which ended his 37 years in power.

He was replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has committed to holding free and fair elections.

Mnangagwa survived a bomb attack at a Zanu PF rally in Bulawayo at the weekend.