THE MDC-T romped to outright victory in Bulawayo province in the July 31 general elections due to a combination of vigilance and bold decision-making which included replacing deadwood among its candidates, according to the party’s provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo.
Bulawayo was the only province where the MDC-T made a clean sweep by taking all 13 National Assembly seats in the elections in which the party performed dismally, allowing Zanu PF to recover from its severe 2008 setback to win a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
Moyo said the Bulawayo province performed well because, among other factors, they had “listened to the voices of supporters during primary elections and made changes to the personnel where necessary”.
“We had leadership renewal in terms of our constitution and brought in new people instead of keeping those who had been party candidates just for the sake of it. We rang changes in constituencies like Emakhandeni, Mpopoma, Magwegwe, Nketa and even Makokoba, and this made people realise that we were serious about results,” Moyo said.
Moyo’s remarks come at a time the MDC-T leadership stands accused of retaining deadwood in some provinces by imposing unpopular incumbents like former housing minister Giles Mutsekwa, who was party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s preferred candidate for the Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency in Manicaland.
Mutsekwa lost the seat to Arnold Tsunga, who defied party directives and contested the polls.
However, Moyo said their win in Bulawayo was only a “pyrrhic victory” due to the MDC-T’s overall heavy loss which he attributed to rigging, intimidation and disenfranchisement of many potential voters.
He said the “electoral fraud” which cost his party in other provinces was also attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, in Bulawayo where thousands of people were turned away from voting.
In his Makokoba constituency, Moyo claimed Zanu PF bussed in army and police recruits in an unsuccessful bid to capture the seat.
He said only the vigilance of polling agents prevented the stuffing of ballot boxes by Zanu PF in the province.
Despite the MDC-T’s call for a boycott of the new parliament, Moyo implied they would take up their seats saying it was “necessary to use every platform to fight Zanu PF’s electoral authoritarianism”.