RESULTS of rural district council elections held last weekend have illustrated that opposition parties still have an uphill task to weaken the chokehold Zanu PF has on rural voters.
y>Statistics also paint a picture of an opposition struggling to convince rural voters to take them seriously as a challenger to Zanu PF.
Out of the 1 247 wards, the combined opposition and a sprinkling of independents chalked up a mere 84 seats, with the two camps of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) picking up 81 seats between them.
The Arthur Mutambara-led MDC won 40 seats with remarkable successes in Nkayi district where it got 14 seats while the Morgan Tsvangirai camp registered its best score in Binga with 11 seats.
The Tsvangirai-led camp which fielded 680 candidates registered a 5,88% success with 40 winning candidates while their counterparts in the opposition who fielded 206 candidates chalked up 19,9% success with 41 winning candidates.
The results show a total rout of the MDC in Mashonaland Central, West and East provinces that have become an impenetrable fortress of Zanu PF support. After clinching 82 wards without breaking sweat, Zanu PF went on to win the remaining 90 wards in a clean sweep of the polls.
Statistics show that overall the opposition won a paltry 6,7% of the total wards on offer while it also won 9,54% of the contested wards.
Both figures are a far cry from claims by the Tsvangirai-led MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, that 44% of the rural electorate voted for his party despite intimidation.
“They braved massive intimidation, threats and violence to vote for the only party that represents the last hope of a brutalised and repressed nation,” Chamisa said.
“Apathy won the polls because the electorate no longer has confidence in the electoral system and its outcome,” he said.
The opposition put up a fair fight in Matabeleland North where it won the highest number of contested seats with 33 out of 84 and Matabeleland South where it garnered 19 out of 80 contested seats.
Independent candidates took one each in both Matabeleland provinces and a single seat in the Midlands.