In a rare concession of defeat at the hands of the revolutionary Zanu-PF, MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa yesterday blamed the disconnect between his party’s leadership and its grassroots support for their loss in a by-election of Ward 28 in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, long believed to be the bedrock of opposition support.
Zanu-PF candidate Cde Kidwell Mujuru romped to victory in the by-election held at the weekend after garnering 1 899 votes, to beat his closest challenger Ms Nomagugu Mloyi of MDC-Alliance by 670 votes.
Ms Mloyi got 1 229 votes in the Cowdray Park by-election while her colleague Mr Collet Ndlovu garnered only 221 votes after the Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party fielded two candidates.
Mr Chamisa yesterday tweeted conceding the defeat.
“The Cowdray Park Ward election results a stark reminder of the urgent need for far reaching ‘root & branch’ reforms & renewal set to kick in at congress. Leadership excesses & conduct that resulted in the party donating a seat to our opposition is regrettable. This is the last of it!”
With a national congress preparations marred by counter-accusations amongst its leadership of candidate imposition and destabilisation of the party, Mr Chamisa promised to decisively deal with what he described as “leadership excesses”.
“Leadership excesses & conduct that resulted in the party donating a seat to our opposition is regrettable. This is the last of it,” read the last part of Mr Chamisa threat.
For the winning party, the victory has been attributed to its decision to dissolve the two provinces of Bulawayo and Harare.
Party Secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu said with the restructuring, Zanu-PF is beginning to make strides in urban centres where it performed badly in previous times.
President Mnangagwa last month dissolved Bulawayo and Harare provinces and appointed his deputies Cdes Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi to lead the restructuring exercise in the respective provinces.
“This is an exciting development following the decision by the party to dissolve and restructure the two urban provinces of Bulawayo and Harare. These developments are confirmation that we made the right decision to restructure and revamp those provinces and we are beginning to record success after years of bad performances in the urban areas,” said Dr Mpofu.
He said the restructuring exercise has been received with a lot of excitement by the people willing to join the party.
In the old dispensation, Dr Mpofu said, some leaders would turn a blind eye to ill practices affecting the party as long as they managed to entrench themselves in positions, a culture that has been discarded by the new dispensation. — Additional reporting by Herald Reporter.