The win by Zanu-PF candidate Kidwell Mujuru in Bulawayo’s Ward 28 by-election over the weekend by 670 votes demonstrates that the MDC’s dominance of urban areas is coming to an end, an official has said.
The win is a major milestone in that the ruling party has been struggling to win both parliamentrary and council seats in Bulawayo and Harare since 2000.
Mujuru romped to victory in the ward in Cowdray Park after garnering 1 899 votes, to beat his closest contender, Ms Nomagugu Mloyi of MDC-Alliance, who got 1 229 votes, while her colleague from the same party, Mr Collet Ndlovu, garnered 221 votes.
The Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party fielded Ms Mloyi and Mr Ndlovu in the council by-election, but Zanu-PF got more votes than the two opposition candidates combined.
The election had 18 candidates vying for the ward seat, which fell vacant following the death of MDC-Alliance councillor Hapson Nyasha Ncube. Mujuru becomes the only Zanu-PF councillor out of 29 councillors in an MDC-Alliance-dominated Bulawayo City Council.
Zanu-PF Politburo member Munyaradzi Machacha said during victory celebrations organised in Cowdray Park at a house belonging to a party member that the victory showed a clear direction by the ruling party. He urged Zanu-PF members to start mobilising support for the ruling party in Bulawayo province ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections.
“The victory is a clear sign that we are on the right path and the party is ready to reclaim its dominance in cities,” he said. “The victory has opened an opportunity for us to practically show the opposition who we are as Zanu-PF.
“We are the party in control and we will ensure that there is tangible development in Cowdray Park following this well-deserved victory.
“During our campaign, which was drummed up by our Vice President Kembo Mohadi, we preached peace and development unlike the opposition which is well known for anarchy and violence.” Machacha said the recent positive developments in the country’s economy were a harbinger of good things to come.
He said President Mnangagwa has, in a short space of time, proved that he is a leader capable of bringing economic prosperity to the country. Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Judith Ncube and Politburo members Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube and Absolom Sikhosana and Central Committee members attended the event.
Mujuru paid tribute to party members and his campaign teams led by Rtd Col Dube, saying they played a crucial role to ensure his victory.
“We won because of unity in the party and I would like to thank my fellow party cadres for tirelessly working with our campaign teams, which were led by our commander, Tshinga Dube,” he said.
“The Minister of State for Bulawayo, Ncube, also supported our campaigns with resources.”
Mujuru pledged to spearhead development in Cowdray Park and committed himself to working towards uplifting the lives of the local community. He said the election results were a testimony that the days of MDC-Alliance’s dominance in Bulawayo and other urban centres in the country were numbered.
During the recent campaign to drum up support for Mujuru, VP Mohadi urged Cowdray Park residents to maintain and preach peace as they work for the party and the development of their area.