Friday, 7 September 2018

BYO FINALLY ELECTS MAYOR

CITY lawyer Councillor Solomon Mguni was yesterday voted the new mayor for Bulawayo.
The election had two false starts as councillors over the past week vowed to ignore a directive from the MDC Alliance on who to vote for the top-most position.

Although Cllr Mguni had been the candidate backed by party president, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, it is for the deputy mayor position that councillors defied their leader. Ward three councillor, Tinashe Kambarami, beat the party’s preferred candidate, Clr Mlandu Ncube of Ward one.

Clr Mguni got 17 votes to beat Clr Norman Hlabani (Ward 26) who got 12 votes. For the deputy mayor position, Clr Kambarami got 16 votes while Clr Ncube got 13 votes.

In his inaugural speech, Clr Mguni said there was a need to move from the election period which was characterised by a lot of contestations and focus on developing the nation.
He said as a council they should now work towards regenerating, repairing, refurbishing and remodelling the city.

“Bulawayo is cosmopolitan and we must celebrate our diversity. Tribalism, corruption and nepotism should not be an issue that divides us. Bulawayo has an identity, a rich history and we must learn that King Mzilikazi built a nation from several ethnic groupings and thus residents must live in harmony.

“Bulawayo is at the epi-centre of the devolution revolution and thus as mayor I promise to work with everyone to make it work. I therefore urge citizens of the great city to partner with me and citizens to make Bulawayo great again. All of us have a duty to market Bulawayo as a safe investment destination,” said the mayor.

He said during his tenure they would work on promoting small business as a solution of ridding the city of vendors, who he said had become a menace.

“I shall be engaging management, businesses and former stewards of this city to come up with an economic blueprint that can help us revive the city’s economy. I promise that I will make the city an essential component of a functional state. The council that I lead will effectively work to deliver a fair, equitable, quality and efficient service to residents.

“Bulawayo is surrounded by many tertiary institutions of higher learning. There is potential to tap into their skills output to convert our waste to energy and fertilizer.

Investment into solar energy can help reduce the city’s huge electricity bill. We also need to augment our water supply to new suburbs that have no running water,” said Clr Mguni.

He further emphasised the need to develop Bulawayo into a smart city, noting that councillors had a generational mandate to deliver modern infrastructure for residents in the city.

The voting for the city’s mayor had been a controversial issue in recent weeks with the MDC Alliance threatening councillors with expulsion if they did not vote for the party preferred candidates.
Adv Chamisa had to dispatch the party’s director for mobilisation and party building, Mr Farai Chinobva, to whip councillors into line.

Initially the Bulawayo mayoral polls were 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 yesterday 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.

In Victoria Falls the election process went on peacefully without the violence that characterised Tuesday’s botched process.

In the end it was residents who celebrated as Ward 9 Clr Somvelo Dlamini was voted the mayor after polling eight votes against Ward 1 Clr Margaret Valley’s 3.

The two were nominated on Tuesday when voting was called off following protests by residents who complained about imposition of candidates by the MDC Alliance leadership.
Ward 4 Clr Patricia Mwale was voted deputy mayor, beating Ward 5 Clr Rich Mguni while Clr Ephias Mambume of Ward 6 declined nomination.
There are 11 councillors in the Victoria Falls Municipality.

However, Clr Mambume accused the presiding officer Mr Simon Muleya who is Hwange District Administrator of using undemocratic electoral methods but the latter stood his ground.

In his inaugural speech, the Mayor said his term will be dedicated to working tirelessly for service 
delivery and making Victoria Falls a destination of choice through quality service delivery.

“The task ahead is that of servant leadership and steering the town to greater economic prosperity. I promise to carry out my duties and responsibilities to the best of my abilities. As we embark on a five-year journey we will continue moving forward and dedicating our lives towards completing many projects that the council earmarked to deliver,” he said.

The mayor said this was pursuant to making Victoria Falls a destination of choice.
Projects such as water and sanitation, construction of a medical tourism centre, sporting facilities and civic centre are top on Clr Dlamini and his council’s priority list.

He appealed to “those who didn’t make it to cooperate and work together because we can’t all occupy the same seat at the same time.” Chronicle 

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