The Sunday Mail
It was full marks for Zanu-PF in Zaka District as the party clinched all four national assembly seats.
And this will see Messrs Davison Svuure (Zaka Central), Ringirisai Gumbwanda (Zaka East), Ophias Murambiwa (Zaka West) and Robson Mavenyengwa (Zaka North) represent the rural district in Parliament for the next five years.
They polled a combined vote of 39 690 in the national assembly, which is almost twice MDC Alliance’s 19 519.
This was largely also the case with the presidential votes.
It was a sweeping victory from the revolutionary party and the one that typifies its performance in rural areas. The result also confirmed Zaka as a Zanu-PF stronghold following decades of consistently voting for the party.
But why has Zaka constantly preserved its vote for Zanu-PF despite MDC Alliance overtures?
“For me and many of us in the rural areas, there was no other way except voting Zanu PF,” said Mr Zororo Vambe who cast his vote at St James Secondary School in Zaka Central.
“Our candidate, Mr Svuure, is a man of the people and he has carried so much development in this area. On the other hand, the MDC has not done anything for us, we have not even seen them here campaigning. All we have seen here are posters.
“But what people need even without money is your presence, be with us in our troubles and our happy times and we will know that you are one of us.”
Mr Vambe said most of the rural population is made up of peasant farmers who lead simple lives and care more about farming inputs, clinics, schools and roads rather than bullet trains and spaghetti roads. He said people in the rural areas are still culturally conservative and greatly appreciate their leaders attending funerals, living among them as well as respecting traditional leaders.
Mr Vambe said most of opposition supporters had shown disrespect and arrogance.
Speaking ahead of the announcement of the results, newly elected Zaka Central Member of Parliament, Mr Svuure said the party had was so popular because it was attending to bread-and-butter issues.
“What we are getting from our agents is positive and it looks like this one is already in the bag,” he said.
“But this is only a result of our hard work, we have been on the ground working with the people and that is why they trust us.”
Mr Svuure, an engineer by profession, is also credited with leading development in the area through providing agricultural equipment, road construction as well as assisting the disadvantaged.
“We promise to continue doing this, uplifting rural livelihoods and creating economic opportunities.”
Another winning candidate for Zaka West, Mr Ophias Murambiwa, said the win came through working for the people as well as working with them.
“Votes don’t just come without doing anything for the people, we are their servants and we should do our best in improving their livelihoods,” he said.
“In our case, we did a lot of projects on the ground and throughout that process we were working with the people, we did not exclude them, even those in the opposition.
“Even in the campaigns we did not impose our relatives, where we could we created opportunities for others.”
Mr Murambiwa promised more development projects in his constituency, emphasising that they will not turn their back on the people.
Some of the MDC Alliance election agents who spoke to The Sunday Mail Society during the voting process last week conceded that the process was fair and acknowledged the need to improve their presence in rural areas.
“We are so disappointed with the results but the truth is we have not yet won the rural voter,” said one polling agent after the announcement of the winner in Zaka West.
“I was part of the whole process and to be fair I did not see anything suspicious.
“The whole process was peaceful and the counting went on quiet well. I believe we now need to go on the ground and work very hard.
“Guys like Murambiwa were on the ground to be honest and that is why they managed to get more votes.”
Observations made by The Sunday Mail Society during the polling process are that there was no intimidation or presence of soldiers in rural areas as reported by some media outlets.
ZEC officers carried out their duties diligently while voters conducted themselves in a peaceful manner.
With the bulk of the country’s population residing in the rural areas where there is also the highest number of registered voters, it was just a question of margin for Zanu-PF’s victory.