BY Brenna Matendere

THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to guard against all electoral malpractices, including vote rigging during the Bikita ward 31 by-by-election set for today, claiming the opposition party will romp to victory if the playfield is level.

The by-election is to fill the council seat left vacant following the death of Zanu PF councillor Patrick Marozhe on April 15 this year.

MDC is being represented by its Bikita district chairperson Moses Maphosa, while Thomas Mataga will stand for Zanu PF.

In an interview with Southern Eye yesterday, MDC secretary for elections Jacob Mafume said his party was confident of winning the poll.

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“We have done two rallies there and our teams worked throughout last weekend to drum-up support. We are confident that if Zec is impartial, independent and
does not allow people to be intimidated, does not allow people to be bought, (does not allow) assisted voters to multiply, food to be distributed on election
day, then we will win the Bikita by-election,” he said.

MDC held the seat from 2008 to 2013 when it lost it to Zanu PF.

Mafume said the party had done its homework and is set to win back the seat.

“Previously (2013 elections), it was affected by double candidates. Now, we have a single candidate. We have got our own agents who are trained. They are ready
to stop any mischief,” he said.

Mafume claimed that the opposition had become more popular due to Zanu PF’s bad policies.

“It is now clear to all and sundry that Zanu PF has failed. They no longer allow those in rural areas to sell their maize. There are no jobs. There is no
education, and there is no electricity; there is also no good healthcare. With all this, no person in their right mind can vote for Zanu PF,” he said.

MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya also expressed optimism the party will win the seat.

“Prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket. There is no shop that sells cheap things to Zanu PF supporters. We all buy in expensive shops. So, even
Zanu PF supporters are also feeling the pain. They want change,” he said.

“We won the seat before, so we are taking it back. In fact, we have plans to win all the other by-elections in future.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo poured cold water on MDC’s assertions.

“If the MDC is arguing the bad economy will make Zanu PF lose, let them win if they are saying so. What they think is not what we think. We are prepared to
win,” he said.