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Campaigning Takes Center Stage in Harare, 2 Open Parliamentary Seats - 2003-03-24


Sunday was a day of campaigns in Harare for two parliamentary by-elections. Vying for seats are the ruling ZANU-PF, the main opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the National Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG).

Hundreds of slogan-chanting MDC supporters gathered in the Zimbabwe grounds in the High Field suburbs. The message from their leaders was that they reclaim their seat. The MDC candidate for Kuwadzana is twenty-five year-old Nelson Chamisa.

The seat fell vacant following the expulsion from the party of opposition Parliamentarian Munyaradzi Gwisai for insubordination.

In the case of Kuwadzana, the seat fell vacant following the death of its MP, Learnmore Jongwe.

The ruling ZANU-PF also held a public rally in High Fields constituency where the party has fielded war veteran, Joseph Chinhotimba.

In his campaign speech, Minister of Youth Eliot Munyara urged voters to vote for a ZANU-PF candidate. Speaking in Shona, Mr. Munyara said voting for a ZANU-PF candidate means sustaining the gains of independence.

He told the audience, “What you are voting for is the peace, tranquility, sunshine and democracy.” Which, he went on to say, was brought about by ZANU-PF after driving out a white man.

The candidates for the National Alliance for Good Governance in both Kuwadzana and High Fields were reportedly conducting door-to-door campaigns.

Political analysts say the outcome of the polls is crucial as it might indicate whether the opposition MDC still enjoys urban support.

During the 2000 parliamentary elections, the MDC won 57 seats out of 120 mostly in urban constituencies. The by-elections are set to take place Saturday and Sunday.

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