Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

MDC Alliance efforts to mobilise rural votes marred by COVID-19 restrictions

By Jairos Saunyama | NewsDay |

The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa yesterday said their efforts to mobilise rural votes had been marred by COVID-19 restrictions.

Supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa listen to his speech at a gathering in Harare, Tuesday, Jan, 21, 2020. Chamisa said his party will roll out street protests against the government, as efforts by local churches and regional political leaders to resolve electoral disputes have failed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Supporters of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa listen to his speech at a gathering in Harare, Tuesday, Jan, 21, 2020. Chamisa said his party will roll out street protests against the government, as efforts by local churches and regional political leaders to resolve electoral disputes have failed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The party’s secretary for rural mobilisation and strategy, Happymore Chidziva told NewsDay that they were behind in mobilising rural votes ahead of the 2023 elections.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, government has been announcing lockdown restrictions which banned gatherings and inter-city travel in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The lockdowns also paralysed the operations of opposition political parties.

Chidziva said despite the delays, the MDC Alliance had employed other tactics to reach out to rural voters.

“Yes, these are difficult times. Time is not on our side. We must move with what we have. The truth is that a desire for change is pushing our people. The main resource that we need is the will to win,” Chidziva said.

In 2018, Chidziva became an MP after winning the Highfield West parliamentary seat.

However, he was recalled from Parliament last year by the MDC T led by Douglas Mwonzora. The MDC-T recalled more than 40 MDC Alliance MPs and about 80 councillors throughout the country.

“We are deepening our links, strengthening our rural networks and spreading all over. We can’t ventilate our strategies in public. We obey COVID-19 protocols, but they don’t prevent us from moving to voters, even if it means door-to-door,” he said.

For a long time, the opposition has been failing to penetrate rural areas — which have proved to be Zanu PF strongholds.

The MDC Alliance is eyeing about six million voters in 2023, while the ruling Zanu PF party is mobilisation for five million votes.

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