…as opposition leader invades Masvingo Urban
By Centre News Reporter
OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Leader, Nelson Chamisa has been challenged to shift his focus to his virulent rivals, the ruling Zanu PF party, strong holds, the rural areas, to mobilize voters ahead of next year water shed harmonized elections.
Analysts warned Chamisa to leave his traditional strong holds in the urban areas and lead his foot soldiers from the front in the rough rural Zimbabwe political terrain, to rally critical voters if he needs to wrestle power and end Zanu PF 42 year old rule.
The sentiments come in the wake of a planned political rally slated for Mucheke stadium in Masvingo urban on Sunday where he is expected to address a bumper crowd.
CCC interim Masvingo Provincial spokesperson, Dereck Charamba confirmed the rally to Centre News.
“It’s true our leader will be here, at Mucheke stadium to address our supporters, the two objectives of the rally are to thank Masvingo for rallying behind the party during the March by-elections and the other one is to deliver a special message to the people,” he said.
The political commentators say addressing traditional urban supporters is a waste of time as he need to break the ruling party support by camping in the rural areas and lead a massive voter mobilization campaign ahead of 2023 crunch polls.
Political commentator and Great Zimbabwe University lecturer, Dr Davison Mugodzwa called upon Chamisa to work on improving his popularity in rural areas which have been dubbed Zanu PF strongholds despite concerns of voter intimidation and vote buying.
”70 % of the Zimbabwean population stays in the rural areas and this is the stronghold of Zanu PF so he needs to break that chain and win elections, he certainly needs to penetrate the rural areas to level the ground by winning hearts of the rural electorate,” Dr Mugodzwa said.
Another political analyst, Masimba Gonese, said the charismatic leader should spend much of his time in the country side until next year to familiarize with the rural voters so that he wins their hearts.
He added that the idea would also see the opposition leader engaging traditional leaders that are usually abused by the ruling party to mobilize support.
“Urban votes are guaranteed but may not be enough to win the presidency, it helps to demystify his party as an urban and aloof organization detached from the majority of the people and also embedding himself and his party with the very influential rural based social structures helps to fully understand the people’s daily challenges, aspirations, fears and help inform the party’s message development going forward,” said Gonese.
He added his presence and visibility helps in taking away the fear that permeates the countryside from which Zanu PF has continued to harvest votes which they otherwise would not garner.
CCC deputy national spokesperson, Gift Ostallos Siziba, however, came out in defense of his party’s stance to host victory celebrations at Mucheke Stadium and other urban areas.
“We are focused on mobilizing voters in both urban and rural areas and we have programs specifically made for these areas for one province to another. We have been doing programs tailor-made to suite the rural population and also urban population.
“There are some programs that we can’t publicize because we are doing with a delinquency player, which is Zanu PF, and when you are dealing with such a player you don’t put all your cards on the deck, you don’t report your political programming,” said Siziba.
Furthermore, he added that they have a cocktail of strategies in their quest to entice the country’s electorate.
“There are some programs that we don’t put in the court of public opinion for strategic security reasons so we are conscious, we know we need more votes where we need support and we are doing what is supposed to be done,” added Siziba.
CCC launched a rural voter mobilization campaign code named Mugwazo were party leadership visits rural areas across the country to solicit for votes.
But political analysts argue that Chamisa himself should be present and lead the process so that rural voters meet him physically.
In Masvingo, Zanu PF commands 25 constituencies out of 26 with only Masvingo Urban belonging to the opposition.
In 2008 elections the then late Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC were Chamisa was part of the leadership, grabbed 14 of the 26 constituencies in Masvingo province and political analyst felt that history can be repeated.
However, CCC will contest its first harmonized elections next year which experts have labelled as a litmus test for the ‘new party’.