RESULTS from last week’s parliamentary elections proved that political parties can no longer afford to impose candidates, even in their traditional strongholds, as the electorate rejected imposed candidates in favour of independents.
Munyaradzi Kereke (Bikita West) and Jonathan Samukange (Mudzi South) both from Zanu PF and Arnold Tsunga (Dangamvura/Chikanga) of the MDC-T contested the polls practically as independents and defeated official party candidates despite being publicly denounced by their respective party leaders at rallies ahead of the elections.
Political analyst Ricky Mukonza said the rebel candidates won because they connected well with their constituencies.
“One common denominator is that all these candidates hail from the constituencies where they contested,” said Mukonza. “They were also the choice of the people on the ground. In the case of Tsunga, it was a demonstration by the MDC-T membership that they do not tolerate being dictated to.”
Harare-based analyst Jonathan Gandari said that the development also proves the existence of factionalism within main political parties.
“The culture of imposing candidates comes out clearly and falls flat on its face, but more importantly I think they (rebels) had support behind the scenes of factions of their parties and all of them had financial muscle to run their own campaign machinery,” Gandari said.
Gandari said the independents also had “high personal stature in their communities” and the constituencies felt Kereke, Samukange and Tsunga had something to contribute to the development of their communities or had established track records in community development.
Both Zanu PF and MDC-T said on Wednesday they would consider re-admitting the rebel candidates at their meetings to carry out an election post-mortem.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said: “As of now they stand expelled from the party, but we don’t know what the presidium will say about the matter in our next meeting.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Tsunga had not been formally expelled and his fate will be decided when the party leadership meets soon.
“Tsunga had not been expelled, but a decision regarding whether to take action against him or not will be made after the national leadership meets to consider the matter,” Mwonzora said.