Last Updated: Saturday, 2 April 2005By Herald ReportersZanu-PF is set for a two-thirds majority
of both elected seats and the whole Parliament with complete and near complete results indicating that it won 81 seats in Thursday’s poll, with the MDC on 38 and a single independent coming through.
Zanu-PF pushed its share of the valid vote by almost 10 percent to around 58 percent, enough to push the MDC out of its strip of marginal and near marginal rural seats along the Eastern Highlands, and take the bulk of a swathe of seats across Matabeleland South and the southern Midlands that the two parties had shared in 2000.
The MDC share of the vote fell less than 8 percent to around 40 percent as it and Zanu-PF squeezed out the independents and minor opposition parties. These minor candidates saw their share of the vote drop from more than 5 percent to less than 1 percent as the two-party system became more entrenched in Zimbabwe.
The only independent or third party candidate to win a seat was Professor Jonathan Moyo in Tsholotsho, and he only managed just over 40 percent of the vote in a bruising three-way fight with the two dominant parties.
Neither major party was able to make much headway in the core constituencies of the other. The MDC won all 31 pure urban constituencies and Zanu-PF consolidated its dominance and in many cases boosted its majorities in rural Mashonaland, Masvingo, most of rural Midlands and much of rural Manicaland.
Zanu-PF was able to take one seat in a metropolitan province, the mixed urban-rural Harare South, by fielding the sitting city councillor but failed to grab any of the pure urban seats. It repeated this success in the other mixed seats such as Chinhoyi and Chegutu across most of the country outside Matabeleland.
The MDC, besides retaining its near stranglehold on the cities, managed to remain a major force in rural Matabeleland, although it did lose significant ground there. But outside the two western rural provinces it did not win a single non-urban seat.
In 2000 the MDC won many of the small number of constituencies that can be described as marginal or near marginal. On Thursday almost all of these moved into the Zanu-PF camp, sometimes with modest majorities, reflecting Zanu-PF’s greater share of the popular vote.
Zanu-PF’s bigger block of constituencies that it can win with large majorities means that the MDC has to win the bulk of marginals and near marginals — seats where support is more evenly divided and which do change hands fairly easily — if it is to come close to parity with the ruling party.
It is this block of around 20 or so marginals and near marginals that allows small shifts in popular support to be converted into quite big shifts in the size of parliamentary blocs.
With 120 elected constituency MPs, Zanu-PF’s tally of 81 gives it one more than a two-thirds majority of this group of MPs. The 81 will be joined in Parliament by the eight governors and the 12 presidential appointees to give 101 MPs taking the Zanu-PF whip. This is just one more than the Constitution requires to effect constitutional change.
However, Zanu-PF is usually joined in parliamentary votes by the block of 10 chiefs, elected by their colleagues in the eight provincial chiefs’ councils and the national council of chiefs. However, these elected chiefs do not take the Zanu-PF whip nor fall under party discipline. Their support generally has to be negotiated, rather than taken for granted.http://www.zimbabweherald.com/index.php?id=42143&pubdate=2005-04-02