Is ZANU PF making inroads in urban centers?

A sea of ZANU PF supporters gathered at Joshua Nkomo airport to welcome ED Mnangagwa who visited Matabeleland yesterday, Saturday 5 November 2022, to attend a graduation ceremony at Lupane State University barely two days after Robert Mugabe airport was thronged by similar masses clad in party regalia to welcome the president from Glasgow, United Kingdom, where he attended the UN climate change summit.

This comes shortly after ED’s main rival, Nelson Chamisa who is the MDC Alliance President had been traversing rural peripheries meeting supporters and sympathizers of his party.

Although Chamisa’s rural travel faced violent resistance from people his party alleged to be supporters of the ruling party ZANU PF, large masses attended his meetings sparking debates that the youthful leader could be making inroads in rural outskirts that are known strongholds of ZANU PF.

However, the masses of ZANU PF supporters who congregated in the two biggest cities of Zimbabwe may also imply that ZANU PF is regaining its political clout in urban centers posing a fresh challenge to the MDC Alliance and its youthful leader.

The MDC Alliance has managed to adduce evidence of what may be growing support in the rural ZANU PF strongholds.

However, not to be outdone ZANU PF concurrently shared evidence of what may be growing urban support.

Reporting through his Twitter handle permanent secretary in the ministry of information Nick Mangwana described the gatherings as public expressions of love to the president.

“President @edmnangagwa is officiating at Lupane University Graduation today.  A rapturous crowd of supporters awaits him at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport. You can’t stop spontaneous expressions of adoration”, Mangwana said.

Urban centers have been known strongholds of the opposition MDC since its formation in the dawn of the 21st century. However, the party has now been rocked with factionalism such that performance in the urban councils it runs have remarkably fallen.

A lot of urban councils are going without councilors since the MDC rival faction fronted by Douglas Mwonzora recalled councilors aligned to Nelson Chamisa after winning a court case in which he challenged the presidency of Chamisa who controversially rose to power after the demise of the party founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mangwana also shared a tweet furnished with graphic symbols flaunting a colossal crowd that had gathered at Robert Mugabe airport to welcome President Mnangagwa from Britain.

The President “has arrived home and was welcomed by thousands of supporters”, Mangwana said

However, responding to Mangwana’s tweet, a well-known journalist and government critic questioned why the government was not declaring by-elections to fill the vacancies left by recalled opposition councilors and MP’s if it could gather such masses in spite of COVID restrictions.

“This is fantastic for the President. So if ZANUPF supporters can congregate in their thousands like this, what is stopping the President from declaring by-elections? Does Covid-19 only become active during elections and not during political rallies”, Chin’ono said.

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