Even though an independent candidate beat his ruling party rival in a recent By-election, the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) made up of various opposition parties on Tuesday insisted that the electoral playing field remained skewed.
Independent candidate, Temba Mliswa, won the Norton By-election held at the weekend this after 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party distributed thousands of free residential stands to potential voters.
NERA Technical Committee chairperson, Joelson Mugari, told the African News Agency (ANA) that there were a lot of irregularities in the Norton by-election.
“Having an opposition in the form of independent candidate winning does not mean that the election was free, fair and credible. We actually witnessed a lot of irregularities which I will not mention as of now but only after the compilation of the NERA by-election report, which will be ready anytime this week,” Mugari said.
He told ANA that NERA had agents and observers on the ground before, during and after the poll.
They will compare their findings with those of other observers that also monitored the poll.
Mugari said Mliswa’s victory was a result of the “working together” of all progressive forces for a common good.
“The victory by an independent candidate does not mean there was a level electoral playing field … it is actually the unity of purpose that made these results that we see today and of course, the hard work that Mliswa put into the campaign.”
Mliswa, a former Zanu-PF provincial chairperson, beat Zanu-PF’s Ronald Chindedza and David Choga of the National Constitutional Assembly to land the vacant parliamentary seat.
At least 5 000 residential stands were parcelled out by the government to Zanu-PF youths in the days leading to the By-election.
The seat fell vacant after the expulsion of war veteran’s leader Christopher Mutsvangwa from Zanu-PF and his subsequent recall from parliament. The war veterans have since declared they will no longer support the re-election of Mugabe, whom they blame for the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.
Mliswa has credited his victory to infighting among Zanu-PF party members.
Independent candidate beat Mugabe’s man as NERA says field is uneven