The MDC district congress re-run for Gokwe-Kabuyuni failed to take off in the political hotbed district on Thursday.
A re-run was ordered after complaints were raised that Costin Muguti, who won in the initial round of polls to lead the district, was not eligible as he had not yet reached the mandatory five years in the MDC after he re-joined the party from Elton Mangoma’s Coalition of Democrats (Code).
Muguti, a former MP for the constituency, first defected from the MDC alongside Tendai Biti and Mangoma under the Renewal for Democrats Party. He remained with Mangoma’s party when Biti broke away to form the People’s Democratic Party.
MDC Midlands provincial spokesperson, Takavafira Zhou, explained the circumstances surrounding the aborted event.
“The first issue that was dealt with before the elections could be held was the issue of Muguti, who had won in the initial district election. He re-joined the party in 2018 after defecting and so that issue was supposed to be resolved first. After some frank discussion, Muguti then agreed to step down. But when we were about to go for the re-run of the district elections, it was discovered that the gathering did not constitute a quorum as there were fewer members. So, we had to postpone the polls,” he said.
MDC Midlands provincial chairperson, Josiah Makombe, who travelled to the remote district to superintend over the re-run, said a new date would be announced after the memorial of the late party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“A new date will be set for the congress re-run, but it has to be before the national event slated to begin on May 24. I was humbled by the unity shown by the party supporters in Gokwe and particularly the political maturity of our cadre Muguti, who agreed to step down,” Makombe said.
Zhuo highlighted that the technicality of the disqualification of Muguti could have been avoided if Mangoma had joined the MDC Alliance or if the former Gokwe-Kabuyuni MP had been a member of Biti’s PDP, which joined the alliance. Members of the parties that joined the MDC Alliance were allowed to contest in the congress, regardless of the five-year membership condition.