MDC’s two candidates who contested Bulawayo’s Ward 28 (Cowdray Park) by-election were both unelectable as they lost to Kidwell Mujuru, according to a report. Mujuru was an MDC member as recent as 2014 before he defected to ZANU PF.
The Cowdray Park by-election was called after the death of MDC Alliance councillor Hapson Nyasha Ncube, a stepson of Collet Ndhlovu, one of the contestants, in December last year.
In the July 2018 poll, Ncube won the ward with 8,514 votes beating Mujuru who won 3,632.
In last week’s election, Mujuru polled 1,899 votes while MDC Alliance’s Nomagugu Mloyi got 1,229 votes, while the other Alliance candidate Collet Ndhlovu won 221 votes.
Ndhlovu was the party’s official candidate while Mloyi (a Douglas Mwonzora ally) had been fired from the party prior to the election for insubordination.
However, Ndhlovu, who operates bars and Kombis in the city was said to be deeply unpopular with the electorate. He was accused of stealing from the residents. His bars make noise and fuel crime according to residents.
A Bulawayo-based journalist, Zenzele Ndebele of the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), had this to say about the MDC’s defeat:
When everything is analysed, it was a self-inflicted defeat for the MDC.
Ndhlovu, added to his baggage, was seen as a candidate for the Mwonzora faction in the party. So you had a lot of adjustment with voters looking to Mloyi as the candidate favoured by the party leader Nelson Chamisa, although she too doesn’t appear to have much gravitas.
Added to this, Mujuru was an MDC member until 2014 and given the chaos in the MDC candidate selection, you found some voters who would otherwise vote for the MDC giving their votes to him.
… There was complacency, and the fights for the party leadership played out in Cowdray Park. The party’s base was not motivated to go out and vote.
It does not really change much in the balance of things in the council but Zanu PF wanted a result to grease their propaganda machine, and they got it.
Party president Nelson Chamisa has admitted that the party’s leadership in Bulawayo is a shambles and promised that his supporters will smile soon.
Certain habits must be dropped, forgotten and even punished. A new culture must be birthed. These are some of the birth pains we have to endure. You will smile soon.