By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE ruling Zanu PF party has ended its 19-year winless streak in Bulawayo council elections after winning the ward 28 (Cowdray Park) by-election held at the weekend.
Zanu PF candidate Kidwell Mujuru polled 1 899 votes to romp to victory taking advantage of deep-seated factionalism in the opposition MDC Alliance camp which saw the party fielding two candidates Nomagugu Mloyi and Collet Ndlovu who got 1 229 and 221 votes, respectively.
A total of 18 candidates took part in the by-election which was marked by voter apathy. A total of 4 369 votes were cast in a constituency that has one of the largest voting populations of over 23 000 registered voters.
The seat fell vacant in December last year following the death of MDC Alliance’s Hapson Nyasha Ncube.
Zanu PF’s victory comes at a time when the ruling party has begun a restructuring exercise in Bulawayo and Harare where it has fared badly against the opposition since the emergence of the MDC in 1999.
“We performed very well. We are happy with his victory, and credit must also go to Mohadi (Vice- President Kembo), who also campaigned for our candidate,” said politburo member Tshinga Dube.
Independent electoral watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), in its post-election report, urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to post the voters’ roll outside polling stations to assist in ensuring voters do not turn up at the wrong polling station as witnessed on Saturday.
The by-election had a high number of re-directed voters who presented themselves at wrong polling stations.
“ZEC should provide adequate signage to direct voters to their appropriate polling stations and ensure that voter education covers information on location of polling stations for specific polling areas, especially where new polling stations are added,” ZESN said in its report.
“Copies of the voters roll should be posted outside polling stations to enable voters to check their names first before proceeding into the polling station.”