Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

As Zimbabwe inches closer to its pivotal by-elections on February 3rd, the political landscape is gripped by a tangible sense of anticipation and uncertainty. The ruling party, Zanu PF, stands just two seats shy of securing a coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament – a goal that has eluded them since the controversial general elections of August 23, 2023.

The general elections, marked by fervent political campaigning and widespread debates, culminated in a victory for Zanu PF, albeit a contentious one. The result was not enough to grant them the two-thirds parliamentary majority they had hoped for. The party managed to secure 136 of the 209 National Assembly seats contested, falling short of the 180 seats required for the desired majority. The opposition party, CCC, claimed 73 seats, presenting a significant challenge to Zanu PF’s ambitions.

The stakes are high for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who sees the two-thirds majority as more than just a numerical victory. It symbolizes a gateway to potentially altering the nation’s constitution. Such a change could pave the way for Mnangagwa to seek a third term in office, a move currently restricted by the existing constitutional framework. This ambition, however, is not without its detractors. A notable resistance comes from within the military ranks, an institution historically influential in Zimbabwe’s political sphere, which is openly opposing the President’s third-term aspirations.

Zanu PF’s journey towards this elusive two-thirds majority has been a tumultuous one. The party secured an additional 33 proportional representation seats and seven youth quota seats, bringing their total to 176—still ten seats short of their goal. A glimmer of hope appeared with John Paradza’s victory in the Gutu West election last November, reducing the gap to nine seats. This victory held a poignant significance, as the seat had remained vacant following the tragic death of former Zanu PF member and independent candidate, Christopher Mutonhori Rwodzi, in a car accident just before the general election.

The political landscape shifted yet again following the by-elections in December, triggered by the actions of CCC’s imposter secretary-general, Sengenzo Tshabangu. In these elections, Zanu PF managed to garner seven more seats, edging them tantalizingly close to their target, with a total of 184 seats out of the 280 in the National Assembly.

As the by-elections approach, the question on everyone’s mind is whether Zanu PF can clinch the remaining two seats to achieve their two-thirds majority. This possibility has sparked a flurry of political activity and speculation across Zimbabwe. The implications of such a victory for Zanu PF are profound. It would not only cement their legislative dominance but also grant them the power to make constitutional changes at will—a prospect that has raised concerns among various sectors of society, including the opposition, civil society groups, and even factions within the military.

The political landscape of Zimbabwe is at a critical juncture. The upcoming by-elections are not just a contest for two parliamentary seats; they are a battle for the future direction of the country. Will Zanu PF realize their long-held ambition, or will the opposition manage to hold them at bay? The answer lies in the hands of the Zimbabwean electorate, who will soon cast their votes in what promises to be a defining moment in the nation’s political history.

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