Policy and democracy think tank, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute says voting trends in the just ended by-elections pointed to a complete knock out of opposition parties in Zanu PF stronghold areas should the ruling party maintain its growth trend up to next year’s general elections.
In a report titled Deterrence of the Zambian Precedent in Zimbabwe, ZDI said the ruling party had gained its 2022 baseline compared to 2018 in its stronghold regions.
“ZANU PF increased from the 2018 baseline of 65% to 75% of the total votes cast in 2022 in its stronghold. There is an additional 10% in 2022 showing that ZANU PF is increasing its performance and popularity in its stronghold regions. Secondly, the CCC performance in ZANU PF stronghold regions increased from the 18% share of MDCA to 22% in 2022. There is an additional 4% showing that CCC performed better than MDC Alliance in ZANU PF stronghold regions.
“Thirdly, the proportions with which ZANU PF and CCC gained in the ZANU PF stronghold indicate that ZANU PF support is growing faster than that of CCC in this region. Fourthly, ZANU PF’s winning margin increased by an additional 6% in its stronghold. In 2018, MDCA fell short against ZANU PF with 47% whereas in 2022 it fell short with 53% in the same region. Read together, these statistics show that if ZANU PF manages to maintain this growth trend, it will completely knock out the opposition from ZANU PF stronghold regions,” read the ZDI report
The think tank said for the ruling party to maintain the winning margin Zanu PF must keep the number of contesting candidates and maintain voter turnout in each constituency.
“However, two intervening variables must be maintained constant if ZANU PF is to keep its widening winning margin and these are: the number of contesting candidates in each constituency; voter turnout in each constituency. The reduction in the number of contesting candidates per constituency in 2022 saw a reduction in the total share of “other” political players from 17% in 2018 to 3% in 2022.
“This entails that the reduction in the number of contesting candidates had an effect of increasing the percentage share of both ZANU PF and CCC which inversely implies that if more candidates contest in a constituency, numbers drop from the ruling party and the main opposition CCC,” the think tank said.
ZDI adds “The voting behaviour and outcomes in the opposition stronghold give a clear picture of the extent of ZANU PF resurgence and democratic resilience under MDCA led by Douglas Mwonzora testify that what opposed ZANU PF in 2018 under the MDCA name is in fact CCC.”