Thursday, 6 September 2018

BYO COUNCILLORS TO VOTE AMID THREATS OF DEFIANCE

BULAWAYO City Councillors will today finally vote for the new city mayor and deputy mayor amid reports that the MDC Alliance is threatening to expel councillors from the party if they do not vote for the party’s preferred candidates.

Expelled members would cease to be councillors. However, councillors have vowed to defy the party president Mr Nelson Chamisa who they have accused of meddling in the local authority’s business and negating the spirit of democracy preached by the opposition party.

Mr Chamisa has even prolonged director for mobilisation and party building, Mr Farai Chinobva’s stay in the city with instructions to whip councillors into line, warning the councillors that if they defy Mr Chamisa’s directive on who to vote for they risk being recalled.


The party president is reportedly backing Ward 23 councillor Solomon Mguni to be the mayor of Bulawayo and Ward one councillor, Mlandu Ncube for the position of deputy mayor.

However, a faction of the councillors is backing Clr Norman Hlabani (Ward 26) for the mayor position and Clr Tinashe Kambarami (Ward three) for the deputy mayor position.
Council sources revealed that Mr Chinobva arrived in the city yesterday around 4PM from Victoria Falls where he was also sent to read the riot act to the MDC Alliance councillors on who to vote for mayor and deputy mayor.

The Victoria Falls poll, however, had to be called off by the Hwange district administrator Mr Simon Muleya after some councillors objected to Mr Chinobva’s presence. They instead were pushing to elect their own candidate for the mayoral position at the expense of Clr Margaret Valley who had the blessings of Mr Chamisa.

The voting in Bulawayo is set to take place at the council chambers at 4PM today. Contacted for comment, Mr Chinobva confirmed that he was in Bulawayo for the mayoral polls but declined to give further details.

“As a party we have a secretary for information and publicity, who is Ms Thabitha Khumalo who speaks on all party business and I believe on this issue I would rather have the party speaking on my behalf,” he said.

Ms Khumalo said she was in a meeting and could not talk on the phone. Efforts to contact her later were fruitless as her mobile phone was no longer reachable.

The Chronicle managed to talk to some councillors in both factions who all accused each other of trying to bribe members of their respective caucuses to garner support.

“Monies are exchanging hands day and night from the party hierarchy who are trying to influence the outcome of the vote. Councillors are being called, threatened and warned against voting for certain candidates,” said the source.

The Bulawayo mayoral polls were initially set for Friday last week after the swearing in of councillors but were shifted to Tuesday after councillors allegedly failed to agree on their choice for mayor and deputy.

They were further postponed to today after it emerged that Bulawayo City Council officials had jumped the gun in acceding to a residents’ request to move the special council meeting from the council chambers to the Large City Hall, as this move was illegal and would have rendered the polls a non-event.

Mr Chinobva had also reportedly intervened in the process which saw councillors holding a number of caucus meetings that he presided over.

Party sources said Mr Chinobva warned that dire consequences would befall councillors who voted for anyone not backed by the party. Chronicle

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