ZANU-PF wins Bikita West showing that voters can be whipped into line

Bikita West winner Beauty Chabaya
Bikita West winner Beauty Chabaya

A highly unpopular candidate who was bulldozed over the people’s wishes romped to victory in Bikita West garnering 13 156 votes against the leading opposition candidate’s 2 453 votes.

This was a litmus test of what is likely to come next year when the country goes for national elections, showing that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front could have gone back to its motto of almost two decades ago when Vice-President Simon Muzenda said even if we put a baboon (as a party candidate), if you are ZANU-PF, you vote for it.

Muzenda was outdone by a Nkayi woman, this time against ZANU-PF, who said: “Given a choice between a donkey and a ZANU-PF candidate, people would vote for the donkey.”

Whispers say the people of Bikita West were against Beauty Chabaya because they felt she had been imposed on them by the party because though she was born in the district she was married elsewhere, but according to the Sunday Mail, she garnered 13 156 votes.

Her nearest rival, Zimbabwe People First candidate Kudakwashe Gopo, who was a former ZANU-PF youth leader, only polled 2 453 vots though reports said someof the local leaders had already started calling him “honourable”.

In 2013, Munyaradzi Kereke, who vacated the seat last year after being convicted of rape, got 6 270 votes though he contested another ZANU-PF candidate who won 6 052 votes.

All the party heavyweights, including the two Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, descended to Bikita to campaign for Chabaya whipping the local leaders who were against Chabaya into line.

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Bikita West was one of the first districts in Masvingo to have voters beaten into line when it voted for a Movement for Democratic Change candidate Amos Mutongi in June 2000.

Mutongi, however, died of cancer only months after the polls forcing a by-election in January 2001.

War veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi led the campaign whipping the people back into line. Claudius Makova who polled 7 441 in 2000 against Mutongi’s 7 726 garnered 12 993 in the by-election against Boniface Pakai’s 7 001 and indication that though the Movement for Democratic Change had not lost its support more silent voters had come forward to vote for ZANU-PF.