• 26 Jully 2009: How The MDC-T Is Losing It's Majority in Parliament

    This map from Sokwanele shows the seats that have fallen vacant and now require by-elections. Some of these vacancies go back to 2008. They also note that, at law, the calling of by-elections is not for Mugabe as president to do with as he sees fit. He is required to consult cabinet. He has not done so. In fact, the issue has not been put on the cabinet agenda at all. And who sets the Cabinet agenda for every Tuesday? None other than Mugabe, of course. Which is why Tsvangirai was asking last week that he also wants to in on setting cabinet agenda.

    Following my article a few days ago in which I told you that Robert "The Solution" Mugabe had resolved to stand against the MDCs and other parties in forthcoming by-elections, Sokwanele have produced the most complete and the most detailed analysis of how the MDC has lost its majority in parliament.

    ZANU PF has indeed lost seats due to deaths, three of them. In those three, Mugabe enjoys majorities of 2945, 6496 and 8975. Considering these margins, it is unlikely that ZANU PF will lose these seats, especially now when those voters see Tsvangirai paying homage and praise their leader, Mugabe, which is simply confirmation to them that their leader is all-powerful and can still "look after" them.

    On the MDC side, the opposition party faces by-elections in 12 constituencies. Of these several are held by the MDC very thin margins: Lovemore Moyo, the Speaker, whose seat is now empty, won it with 474. This is definitely a margin Mugabe will reverse.

    As for the rest of the MDC majorities, the most vulnerable are:

    • Mutare West - MDC-T majority of 22 (twenty-two) votes. The MDC-T MP, Shuah Mudiwa, has been sentenced to 7 years in jail for "kidnapping a minor".
    • Bikita West - MDC-T majority of 19 (nineteen) votes. The MDC-T MP Heya Shoko, is in the courts facing a charge of "abusing" and "stealing" farm inputs from Gideon Gono. This past week, another MDC-T MP facing the same charges was sent to jail for two years, with one year suspended
    • Masvingo West: MDC-T majority of 392 (three hundred and ninety two) votes. The MDC-T MPs for the area is facing charges of abusing farming inputs from Gono as well.
    • Gutu East - MDC-T majority of 989 (nine hundred and eighty-nine) and where their MP faces charges of abusing farm aid from Gono.
    • Gutu North - MDC-T majority of 702 (seven hundred and two) and where the MP faces the same charges as Gutu East above.
    Knowing ZANU PF, it is most likely that it will pour huge amounts of resources into these tenuous seats held by the MDC-T.

    Even if we assume that the seats held by the MDC by a majority of more than 2000 will be retained by them, and that ZANU PF will do the same with its seats, which they hold by high margins, this still leaves the MDC-T with 95 seats against ZANU PF's potential of 104, when they claw back 22-vote margins from the MDC-T.

    As I revealed a few days ago, the GPA clause that bars the parties to the Inclusive Government from running against each other in by-elections expires on 15 September and Mugabe has resolved that there will be no by-elections before then.

    As Sokwanele point out, "If by-elections are delayed till mid-September, this would raise the spectre of election violence."

    And it appears that is what is in store for Zimbabwe.

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