By Jeffrey Moyo
HARARE-Temba Mliswa, former parliamentarian for Hurungwe West in Mashonaland West Province has apparently chickened out of active politics after controversially but narrowly losing in the just ended parliamentary by-elections, which he said were characterised by intimidation and violence.
Mliswa polled 4239 votes against his rival Keith Guzah who bagged 5961 votes in the by-election.
Addressing a press conference in the Zimbabwean capital Harare close to a week after the elections were held in the country’s 16 constituencies, which were all won by the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party, Mliswa accused his opponents of using violence to wrestle the Hurungwe west constituency.
Mliswa stood as an independent candidate in the controversial polls after he was expelled from Zanu-PF for his alleged links to the dismissed former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
“I will take this as an opportunity to explore the many options that lie ahead as an active citizen in different spheres for a better Zimbabwe, I have decided not to ever stand for election as a Member of Parliament and will pursue other interests,” Mliswa told journalists.
“Some of us are business people and we can go back to our businesses until the electoral environment here is normalised,” he said.
He bemoaned irregularities which he said rocked polls in his former constituency of Hurungwe west.
“It was alarming to note that over 4000 people were suspiciously turned away from voting in Hurungwe west. Worse still was the glaring fact that most of them (turned away voters) insisted that they had voted at the same polling stations in the previous election of 2013,” said Mliswa.
Mliswa said what had happened in Hurungwe west constituency was set to happen again in the 2018 harmonised elections in this Southern African nation.
“I agree with the opposition political parties that didn’t participate in the by-elections because of lack of electoral reforms, which irregularities I’m sure will repeat themselves at the 2018 elections if nothing is done to address them now,” added Mliswa.
The just ended parliamentary by-elections came after the expulsion of 21 Members of Parliament belonging to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party led by this Southern African nation’s former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The expelled legislators had crossed the floor from the MDC-T to form their own political outfit dubbed MDC Renewal Team.
The opposition MDC -T has however been calling on its supporters to boycott the just ended by-elections protesting the absence of electoral reforms, which the main opposition here said would work in favour of the ruling Zanu (PF).
And a few days before the by-elections were held, Mliswa had filed an urgent application at the Electoral Court seeking postponement of the June 10 by-elections citing a sharp increase in voter intimidation by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
In his urgent chamber application filed, Mliswa had accused Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo of fuelling the alleged terror and enlisting the services of the army to intimidate the electorate to vote for the ruling party’s candidate, Keith Guzah.
Prior to that, Mliswa had been arrested for allegedly pulling down Guzah’s campaign posters and disrupting the later’s meetings.
Meanwhile, over 100 parliamentary candidates, including those from Zanu (PF), other smaller parties and independent candidates took part in the controversial by-elections