The Sunday News
THE recent ward by- election in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo all but showed that people can take charge of their destiny if they choose to open their eyes.
It is not a secret that service delivery in the city has deteriorated over the years, largely due to the calibre of councillors voted into office. For close to two decades, the MDC has been dominating council business but there has been little if any development at all, with residents forced to put up with litter, potholes, water rationing, and dark streets as street lights have gone unrepaired for years.
As that has not been enough, councillors have been in the news for the wrong reasons that ranged from factional fighting to corruption.
It would appear the majority of those who seek council positions just want to line their pockets through acquisition of stands and meddling in council tender processes.
Victory by Zanu-PF in Cowdray Park has shown that the opposition party has no God -given right over urban voters. It was also testimony to that with more solid structures in place, Zanu-PF can reclaim the urban vote. During the harmonised elections, the party also got a seat in the city, which has been viewed as a traditional MDC stronghold.
Zanu-PF candidate, Cde Kidwell Mujuru, triumphed over MDC Alliance’s two candidates Alderman Collet Ndlovu who was seeking a third term and Ms Nomagugu Mloyi who came second out of the 18 contestants. Cde Mujuru garnered 1 899 votes while Alderman Ndlovu, who was the party’s official candidate, managed just 221 votes.
Cde Mujuru becomes the only Zanu-PF councillor out of 29 councillors in an MDC-Alliance dominated Bulawayo City Council.
Ms Mloyi, who was the favourite among opposition members in the ward, garnered 1 229 votes after she went against the party and participated in the election arguing that the primary poll she lost had not been free and fair.
Alderman Ndlovu is allegedly aligned to a faction supporting Secretary General Mr Douglas Mwonzora’s presidential aspirations while Ms Mloyi was the preferred candidate for a rival faction that wants Mr Nelson Chamisa to retain the presidency during the party’s congress set for 24-26 May.
Cde Mujuru paid tribute to party members and his campaign team 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 was led by our commander, Cde Tshinga Dube. The Minister of State for Bulawayo Cde Ncube also supported our campaigns with resources,” he said.
Cde 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 result was a testimony that the days of MDC Alliance’s dominance in Bulawayo and other urban centres in the country were numbered.
The principal at the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology, Cde Munyaradzi Machacha, who was at the party’s victory gathering, urged Zanu-PF members to start mobilising support for the ruling party in the 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. 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,” he said.
Moreover, the reason why the results of the by election have dominated discussions of late is simply because victory by Zanu-PF was symbolic and telling in as far as the resurgence of Zanu-PF is concerned, and by a similar measure, pointing to the demise of the opposition.