By Mutsa Makuvaza
CHALTON Hwende, the Secretary-General of the opposition MDC Alliance, says his party does not have the capacity to mobilise the 1.6 million new voters it needs to dislodge Zanu PF and will need the support of other political allies going forward.
The 1,6 million new voters are part of the 6 million overall voters the Nelson Chamisa-led party seeks to amass in the 2023 elections which are due in about 18 months, a hard sell considering the party has so far struggled to convince youths to register to vote.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) recently announced that it registered a paltry 2 971 virgin voters in 2021. While other party leaders have gone on a warpath with Zec, Hwende says the most important war to fight at the moment is to register new voters and save the party in the upcoming elections starting with this year’s by-elections.
“Now that the holiday is over tomorrow we start the journey to State House. We need to register close to 1.6 Million new voters. This is a mammoth task that must be done anyway even with ZEC throwing spanners. We can’t afford another 5 years with Zanu PF,” said Hwende.
“No single political party has the capacity to mobilize and get 1.6 million new voters. We need all genuine political parties to join hands – all civic society organizations, students, labour , women organizations and most important the Citizens to join hands and resources.”
Hwende appealed to party supporters to tolerate former Zanu PF chief propagandist Professor Jonathan Moyo who he said has “a role to play in encouraging every Zimbabwean who is not yet registered to register so that we can achieve the 1.6 million new voters target.”
The appeal, however, generated more heat than light as party members went on to publicly lampoon, insult and berate Hwende for “protecting former G40” gladiators.
Asked by HourlyHits to comment on the attacks by own party members, Hwende said all the issues people “in the party and outside the party” were spending time on were unhelpful as the main task was to get new potential voters onto the voters roll.
“My worry right now is the numbers of new voters that we must get into the voters roll. These attacks and everything else around them of no help to the party.
“In 2022, we must ensure that every eligible voter is assisted to register to vote so that in 2023 they can exercise their constitutional right to vote. We must ensure that every household is visited and mobilized.
“I’m very busy mobilising our structures to prepare for the Zec mobile voter registration blitz and I will not be side-tracked by people whose only contribution is to attack those who express a different opinion.”
Hwende urged more party members to help support activities that grow the party membership and thanked those who had already donated cash and other resources to the cause.
“We are making progress our teams will cover and knock at every door in the villages. We must always salute the foot soldiers who sacrifice their work this rain season to spread the voter registration message. Thanks to our people on these streets who donated money for their lunch,” said Hwende.