Elections prove ZANU-PF is bigger than ED but Chamisa is more popular than CCC


The 2023 election was a race between a party more popular than its leader, and a leader more popular than his own party.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa polled less than his party MPs in this election, by a wider margin than in 2018, according to a newZWire analysis of results. In contrast, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa again proved more popular than his MPs.

In 2018, Mnangagwa’s vote tally of 2,456,010, was 21,698 votes less than the ZANU-PF parliamentary votes – 2,477,708. Five years later, that gap has widened significantly to 144,680 votes. (The MPs’ tally excludes Gutu West, where there will be a by-election)

Mnangagwa won in 127 constituencies while ZANU PF won 136 in this election. Back in 2018, he beat Chamisa in 126 out of the 210 constituencies as ZANU-PF won 145 seats.

The President this year only beat his party in Masvingo province, and only by a margin of 3,981. The biggest variance was in Harare, a gap of 29,263 votes, or a 13.1% variance.

It’s a reversal of 2018, when Mnangagwa won more votes than his party in six out of ten provinces – Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo.

In 2018, Mnangagwa lost in 20 constituencies that ZANU PF MPs won. This time, he lost in Epworth South (Mnangagwa had 962 less votes than ZANU PF), Harare South (-1,166), Hunyani (-797), Mbare (-3,347), Mutasa South (-1,610), Goromonzi West (-1,132), Gwanda South (2,217), Gokwe Central (-966), Redcliff (-1,404) and near his home ground, Zvishavane-Ngezi (-1,996).

Is this new? No. Robert Mugabe also had fewer votes than his party in 2013 and 2008.

What about Nelson Chamisa?

In 2018, Chamisa got 2,151,927 votes, 508,561 more than his MPs. The gap has narrowed to 116,038 in 2023. Chamisa was more popular than his CCC MPs in all provinces.

The gap between Chamisa and his party was narrowest in Manicaland, just 548 votes, or 0.23%. In Harare, Chamisa won 21,370 more votes than his party, a 4.3% variance, and 13,531 votes more than CCC in Mash Central, a gap of 16.5%.

Our analysis of the data shows Chamisa won big in closely contested seats.

In Mabvuku Tafara, gold dealer Scott Sakupwanya lost by 15,934 to 12,038 to the CCC candidate. Mnangagwa had just 7,010 votes, some 5,028 votes less than Sakupwanya. Chamisa had 4,740 more votes than his candidate. This suggests that some voters chose Sakupwanya and Chamisa.

In Norton, where CCC’s Richard Tsvangirai beat independent Temba Mliswa, Chamisa had 4,987 more votes than his candidate. Some Mliswa voters may have voted Chamisa.

In Mazowe West, although he lost to Mnangagwa, Chamisa beat his own CCC candidate by 4,484 votes. For Insiza South, won by ZANU PF, Chamisa had 4,268 more votes than his candidate.

Continued next page


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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