Mwenezi East Constituency
Mwenezi East is a new constituency created by the 2008 delimitation process. It is located in Masvingo province encompassing Masvosva, Neshuro, Sarahuru and Chizumba. The constituencies were removed from the old Mwenezi constituency of 2005 before delimitation. The area is dominated by Shangani and Karanga people most of them living in abject poverty and rely on subsistence farming. However, this source of livelihood is hampered by below normal rains received annually over the last decade. There is a poor road network in some areas lacking bridges making the areas inaccessible especially during the rainy season.
When Zimbabwe’s economy was still viable people from Mwenezi would find employment in neighboring Zvishavane and Chiredzi. Furthermore, due to the constituency’s closeness to South Africa most residents cross the border in search of greener pastures. For those that choose to remain local, gold panning is one of the few available options and it has become rampant in the area.
The drought-prone district of Mwenezi according to the 2012 national census has a population size of 166 993 up from 126 000 in 2002. The Constituency according to the same report has 36 631 households. During the July 2013 harmonised elections Mwenezi East constituency had 29 958 registered voters in the constituency and on average there are 3745 voters per ward. Of the 29 958 registered 21 523 casted their ballot in 18 wards at 46 polling stations.
The Mwenezi East constituency fell vacant after the expulsion of Kudakwashe Bhasikiti from both parliament and Zanu PF party. Bhasikiti was booted out of the ruling party after being linked to a group led by former vice President Joice Mujuru accused of wanting to topple President Mugabe. However, Bhasikiti dragged Zanu PF to court challenging the legality of his expulsion from Zanu PF, adding that he learnt of his fate through the media. Bhasikiti also sought to stop President Robert Mugabe from proclaiming a by-election. The Constitutional Court on 25th June ordered that this by-election should not be held before the resolution of Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti’s court case, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, sitting with eight other judges, ordered that the dispute should be resolved by July 31 to ensure the election timelines are met in the event that High Court throws out the case.
However, President Mugabe went ahead and proclaimed the by-election date to fill the National Assembly constituency seat declared vacant on 11th June in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution after the expulsion from ZANU-PF of the MP concerned.
Since independence the district of Mwenezi has been a stronghold of Zanu PF. Since delimitation in 2008 the trend did not change in the 2008 and 2013 elections as the constituency has been held by Zanu PF, winning by wide margins. Isaiah Shumba, a Zanu PF member, represented Mwenezi, winning both the 2000 and 2005 elections. In 2008 in the run-up to the harmonised elections, Isaiah Shumba former MP Mwenezi constituency was together with twelve other Zanu PF supporters arrested for political violence and intimidation. He had run for the Mwenezi East seat and had lost to Bhasikiti (2, 793 votes, and Cletos Muchara (214 votes). Shumba was a distant third, garnering only 48 votes.
Bhasikiti Kudakwashe (Zanu PF), Murambwi Ananias (MDC Tsvangirai), and Chidyamakono Tavengwa (Independent) ran for the Mwenezi East House of Assembly seat with Bhasikiti winning with 9 696 to Murambwi’s 2 477.
Zanu Primary PF Election (14/7/2015)
|Joshua “Mzebra” Moyo||1203|
|Kudakwashe Bhasikiti- ZANU (PF)||9 698|
|Ananias Murambwi- MDC-T||2477|
|Chiidyamakono Tavengwa- Idependent||588|
|Total Valid Votes Cast||12 813|
|Bhasikiti Kudakwashe (Zanu PF)||18 196|
|Marufu Phillip (MDC-T)||2 483|
|Purazeni Simbarashe (MDC)||494|
|Total Votes Casted||23 614|