The defeat of the MDC candidates in last weekend’s council election in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, should serve as a wake-up call to the country’s largest opposition party ahead of the 2023 national elections.
MDC fielded two candidates, with the leadership choosing a representative who had been rejected by the grassroot supporters.
Consequently the double-fielding of Collet Ndlovu and Nomagugu Mloyi gifted Zanu PF the victory as its candidate – Kidwell Mujuru profited from the disgruntled voters – who sank the MDC.
To the many residents of Cowdray Park, the victory of Zanu PF is a sour one but one that should remind the bickering opposition party that voters can shift allegiance when they are taken for granted.
Bulawayo, since 2000 elections, has been always seen as one of the MDC’s “bankable strongholds”, and the humiliating defeat at the weekend serves to underline the growing problems in the party.
This becomes important when one takes into account MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s assessment of the state of the party — a year after the death of its revered founding father — Morgan Tsvangirai who lost his brave fight against cancer of the colon early last year.
The fielding of double candidates in Bulawayo was a result of those divisions which saw imposition of a candidate not in touch with grassroots supporters.
This was similar to last year when the MDC did the same in some parliamentary constituencies in the harmonised July 30 elections, where the party fielded double candidates.
In Goromonzi West, the MDC fielded Luke Tamborinyoka and Collins Nhamburo, thereby allowing Zanu PF which was represented by Energy Mutodi to win the seat.
Mutodi polled 12 384 votes, while Nhamburo came second with 10 274 and Tamborinyoka third with 6 691. Party insiders said had the party fielded only one candidate, it would have scored a thumping victory.
It was the same story in Bulawayo South, where the party lost its seat to Zanu PF after fielding Never Mangwendeza and Kunashe Muchemwa, who were beaten by Raj Modi.
It appears the MDC’s leadership is continuing on this slippery path where party bigwigs appear to have little respect for voters and their choice of a candidate.
This does not bode well for the MDC in future elections unless it quickly introspects and corrects this “disease”. DailyNews