Zimbabwe’s Chamisa eyeing power after sweeping by-election successes

ZIMBABWE opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has one eye on power after sweeping to victory in last weekend’s by-election.

His Citizens’ Coalition for Change party won 19 out of the 28 parliamentary seats up for grabs while also taking 75 seats out of 122 in municipal elections.

The unexpected victory has seen Mr Chamisa emerge as the frontrunner for next year’s general election.

Party spokesman Fadzayi Mahere said the results showed that “citizens came together and achieved a resounding victory for the movement.”

During a press conference on Monday, Mr Chamisa underlined the need for urgent measures to address problems with Zimbabwe’s voting system.

“Yes, we have won a landslide, but that does not move away from the fact that the elections in this country need fundamental reforms around the voters’ roll, the credibility of the voters’ roll, around the issues of making sure results are managed in a better way, polling stations are not subjected to the violence, intimidation that we have seen,” he said.

Zimbabwe has been led by the Zanu PF since it won independence from Britain in 1980 under the leadership of former president Robert Mugabe.

He was forced to stand down in 2017 after a string of corruption allegations and was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But his rule has been marked by a severe economic crisis, punctuated by strike action from health workers and mass protests demanding his resignation.

The Citizens’ Coalition for Change was formed just three months ago and has been subjected to repression and attacks by the state.

At least 37 people were arrested at a party gathering a few weeks ago, and police have attempted to ban meetings.

Last month one person died and another 22 were injured as authorities moved against a campaign rally addressed by Mr Chamisa.