MDC loses Matabeleland grip

Mr Nelson Chamisa

HARARE – MDC’s popularity has dwindled in Matabeleland, with voters shunning the polls in protest of underdevelopment in the region compared to other parts of the country, a report has revealed.

The report released by Solidarity Peace Trust this week indicated that the populace in the region is largely demoralised and sees no purpose of casting a vote.

“Voting for the opposition has failed to help Matabeleland, particularly in a context where the nation as a whole continues to be run by Zanu PF. Having an opposition MP in such a situation is in fact disempowering, as your constituency then may have nobody able to intervene at Politburo or Cabinet level in defence of your development needs,” stated the report.

According to the report, inhabitants of the underdeveloped Matabeleland have fled to the Diaspora to seek employment and most have lost a sense of belonging.

“Discussions with the residents of the three provinces suggest that Bulawayo and Matabeleland South are the two provinces most acutely affected by the massive movements that have affected the whole nation since 2005.

“This impacts in two ways: firstly, many assumed residents of Bulawayo and Matabeleland South are now effectively living outside the country.

“Secondly, many others live in a state of ‘circular migration,’ now being in SA and then back in Matabeleland, with seriously divided loyalties and less sense of national belonging,” noted the report.

“Such citizens feeling abandoned by the State and fed up with seeing no benefit to the region out of voting for the opposition in multiple elections since 1980 and once again since 2000 have not bothered to register or vote.

“It is the route of least resistance to give in to pressure to vote for Zanu PF and people are tired and demoralised.”

The report highlighted that the last few elections have seen a steady erosion of opposition-held parliamentary seats in these three western provinces.

It also attributed the decline in the MDC’s popularity in the region to the split in the main movement, limiting the choice of preferred leadership personalities.

The report, titled “Zimbabwe: The 2018 elections and their aftermath”, highlighted that Bulawayo is the only province nationally that failed to achieve 60 percent of the projected voter registration.