As the ruling party has bagged a victory in the by-election in Mwenezi, the main opposition party MDC-T Spokesperson Obert Gutu took to social media to give his assessment of why and how that victory came about.
Whilst the ruling party ululates, he is of the view that with regards to the upcoming 2018 election, the rural constituencies will determine who wins. He insinuated further that “There is deliberate effort by the ZANU PF regime to fence and commandeer the rural electorate.”
Allegations of intimidation of the rural electorate reared an ugly head as he went on to say “The regime has unleashed a reign of terror in most rural areas and villagers are being intimidated from attending opposition political events and activities. We are dealing with a morbidly recalcitrant and stubborn Stalinist regime that is determined to make rural areas no-go areas for opposition political parties.”
In his assessment, he made mention that the ruling party already has a game plan which is to clearly “win” by huge numbers in the rural areas so that they can dilute whatever gains the opposition would have made in rural constituencies. Thus, the clarion call to thwart the “ evil machination by ensuring that we penetrate rural areas using smart methods and also by encouraging the millions of young people to register to vote and ensure that they vote on polling day.”
He gave an example of Harare Metropolitan which he claimed in properly and adequately mobilized, the province alone can produce no less than a million votes for his party.
As has always been the mantra with the largest opposition political party, he concluded by saying that ZANU-PF will not reform hence the opposition party is expected to step up and go for broke in the next harmonized election.” It is a do or die mission but it can be done”
However, with all that said and done some analysts could not help but comment and give their input on how the opposition can maneuver itself around this so-called “rural electorate” debacle. One analyst insisted that the engagement with the rural folk should be continuous and not once off. This should serve to constantly give an ear to their needs as the opposition. Another analyst asserts that with the rural folk most of the time it is a mind game, so unless and until opposition parties recognize that rural politics is about freebies and transactions, they will not yield the result they wish. In the same vein, there is need for the opposition parties to engage social scientists who will constantly research on the thinking, mood and emotions of the rural electorate.
One submission came as a surprise to say that unless and until the opposition understands that there are people who still willingly vote for the ruling party and do not subscribe to the change agenda, change will remain a pipedream. These people are not being coerced in any way but voluntarily vote for the ruling party.