BY BRENNA MATENDERE
MAIN opposition MDC Alliance party and the ruling Zanu PF have rekindled their rivalry ahead of the Shurugwi South ward six by-election set for December 14.
The council seat fell vacant following the death of councillor Edmond Chitera (Zanu PF) early this year. Zanu PF controls Shurugwi South constituency through its MP Edmund Mukaratigwa.
The by-election will be the first to be held in the Midlands after the 2018 general elections and will go a long way in revealing the current political atmosphere in Shurugwi.
On Thursday last week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission held the nomination court at Tongogara Rural District Council to select candidates who will contest in the by-election. Edward Chitera Junior, son of the deceased councillor was duly nominated to represent Zanu PF, while Mary Choga was declared candidate for Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance. Fringe political parties stayed away from the race.
In separate interviews with Southern Eye after the nomination court, both candidates expressed confidence of grabbing the seat.
Chitera said although Zanu PF is yet to roll out campaign programmes in the ward, he is confident of victory.
“We are still waiting for our party leaders to spell out the campaign path. So at the moment we have not started campaigning. However, I am confident of winning the election. I will share more information when I have been cleared to do so by our party leaders,” he said.
Choga also expressed hope of winning the by-election and spruce up chances of the MDC Alliance clinching the parliamentary seat in 2023.
“I am a dedicated lady who will push for equal opportunities in moving towards 50-50 representation at all levels of governance in Shurugwi once I am elected. My other wish is to ensure equitable distribution of government food aid. If elected I will also be pushing for availability of clean and potable water in the ward through the sinking of boreholes by the rural district council,” the MDC Alliance candidate said.
“We also need upgrading of roads to lure more bus operators in the rural area because transport companies are shunning us at the moment. If elected I will be also pushing for a primary school at Zvamatenga turn-off to reduce the distance being covered by pupils to a learning institution. We also need to see the setting up of a clinic at China Gansu to ensure no one travels more than 10km to the nearest clinic. Mothers are currently giving birth in huts or at bus stops due to the long distances to Shurugwi District Hospital at Chachacha. This is what I offer as a candidate.”