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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
candidates’ chances slim
Patrice Makova, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
July 07, 2013
Zanu PF and MDC-T candidates contesting
the July 31 elections as independents have little chance of
winning or affecting the final outcome as they are marginal vote
getters, analyst have said.
But others said
although they rarely win elections, independents can act as spoilers
and split votes, especially when the candidate is strong, or when
the race between the two other contenders is especially close.
At least four
Zanu PF members are contesting as independent candidates after they
were either blocked or allegedly robbed of victory in the primary
Marian Chombo (Zvimba North), Daniel Garwe (Murehwa North), lawyer
Jonathan Samukange (Mudzi South) and Nokuthula Matsikinye (Chimanimani).
A number of
disgruntled MDC-T members are also in the race as independent candidates.
journalist-turned politician, Geoff Nyarota (Makoni South) and three
former legislators Moses Mare (Chiredzi West), Felix Magalela Sibanda
(Magwegwe) and Samuel Sandla Khumalo (Pelandaba-Mpopoma).
of the candidates were beaming with confidence, analysts said history
has proven that independents have never made an impact as they do
not have adequate resources in a country where politics is largely
in 1980, only two candidates with strong links to Zanu PF have made
it into Parliament
Margret Dongo won in Harare South in 1995, while Jonathan Moyo won
in Tsholotsho North in the 2005 and 2008
elections after Zanu PF had blocked them.
Alois Masepe said independent candidates have no place in Zimbabwean
politics where there was a contestation between the past and a new
either we maintain the status quo and vote for the revolutionary
party [Zanu PF] which does not want to change or we choose another
party [MDC-T] which is promising change,” he said.
of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure said
the independent candidate’s phenomenon was not a big feature
in the July 31 polls, unlike in 2008 when they constituted 13% of
He said already
a number of independent candidates including suspended Zanu PF Manicaland
provincial chairman Mike Madiro (Mutare North) and his deputy, Dorothy
Mabika (Chipinge central) have chickened out, with indications that
more are to follow suit.
ripple effect is not going to be a whirlwind or political tsunami
because numerically they are in the minority and therefore only
a few constituencies will potentially be affected by the spoiler
effect,” Masunungure said.
lecturer, Phillan Zamchiya said the manner in which the party primary
elections were held disadvantaged Zanu PF more than MDC-T when it
comes to independent candidates.
Zanu PF allowed
all card-carrying members to vote in primaries, with some losing
candidates garnering up to 3 500 votes. The MDC-T on the other hand
had a clearly defined small electoral college. “These thousands
of people who voted for the Zanu PF candidates carry the emotional
vote. They tend to be emotionally attached to a candidate and can
again vote for him or her come elections,” he said.
MDC-T, there isn’t that emotional vote because an electoral
college voted. Even the branches did not vote in the primaries.”
Clever Bere said independent candidates have performed badly in
previous elections, save for being spoilers.
He said even
the likes of political scientist Ibbo Mandaza, in his Mazowe backyard,
only managed to poll 446 votes as an independent candidate in 2008.
Munyaradzi Gwisai, who ran as independent candidate in Highfield
after being expelled by MDC-T, polled a paltry 73 votes in a by-election
in 2003 compared to the 12 336 he garnered in the 2000 polls when
he was the party’s official candidate.
this trend, and also the Zimbabwean political landscape in which
candidates are mainly viewed not in terms of who they are and what
they are offering to the electorate, but the party ticket they are
carrying,” said Bere. “I foresee a continuation of the
dismal performance of independent candidates.”
said although they have failed to garner enough votes to win seats,
they have been spoilers. Bere said in constituencies where parties
have fielded two candidates or where a member decides to contest
as an independent, they have caused the splitting of votes.
analyst cited the 2008 elections where the MDC-T fielded two candidates
in many constituencies in the Midlands, resulting in the party losing
21 of the 28 seats in the province to Zanu PF.
is the reason why parties in the GPA have adopted the position of
candidates having to have their nomination papers signed by senior
leadership,” he said.
parties trying hard to convince their members to pull out before
a numbers game
George Makoni said the issue of independent candidates should not
be taken for granted.
He said with
the 50% +1 vote requirement as stipulated by the constitution, no
political party or individual can afford to lose even a single vote,
particularly in the Presidential race.
in the 2008 harmonised elections, Mavambo/Kusile leader Simba Makoni
who was an independent candidate, got 8% of the total vote which
was in any measure very significant.
candidates give the disgruntled electorate an alternative and usually
party supporters prefer to give a vote to a ‘rebel’
for he/she shares their frustration,” he said.
for some supporters, it was difficult to totally cross the floor
to the other end, hence they preferred to cast the vote for someone
who used to share the same ideology with them.
He said this
would disadvantage political parties especially in swing constituencies,
citing Bikita West in 2008, where 20 votes separated Heya Shoko
(MDC-T) and Elias Musakwa (Zanu PF), with an independent candidate
who campaigned under the Simba Makoni banner garnering 90 votes.
had so happened that there was no independent candidate, the result
could have been totally different,” said Makoni.
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