Tuesday, 4 September 2018

BYO MAYORAL RACE DIVIDES MDC ALLIANCE


MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has been sucked into the Bulawayo mayoral race with councillors accusing him of ganging up with city provincial chairperson, Mr Gift Banda, to impose Councillor Solomon Mguni for the top job.

The 29 Bulawayo councillors, all under MDC Alliance are expected to elect the mayor and deputy mayor at the Large City Hall today in an issue that has divided the MDC Alliance.

Councillors who spoke to Chronicle yesterday alleged that Mr Banda wants to scuttle the nomination of Ward 26 Councillor Norman Hlabano.

“What you should know is that Banda has vested interests in the council by virtue of being a former deputy mayor. In Mguni, a green horn with no experience in running council business, Banda will have control on the affairs of the council. Mguni will serve as Banda’s proxy,” said a councillor.
The councillors revealed that Mr Banda and Mr Chamisa wanted to impose Clr Mguni despite the fact that he only enjoys the support from 12 councillors while Clr Hlabano has 17 backers.

“Since Chamisa lost in the presidential elections, he has joined hands with Banda in the imposition of candidates in Bulawayo and in the long run, Banda’s interests have also become his interests,” said another councillor.

Efforts to get a comment from either Mr Banda or Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson, Dr Nkululeko Sibanda, yesterday were fruitless.

Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the local authority will conduct the process at the Large City Hall deviating from the norm where it’s done privately at the Committee Room. 

He said the meeting will start at 4PM if everything goes according to plan. “Bulawayo residents want to know what is happening and in promoting transparency, we have resolved to have the meeting at the Large City Hall.

“Normally this should be a Special Full Council meeting which is held not even at the Council Chambers but at the Committee Room in closed doors. But because we want this to be transparent we will allow everyone to come in,” said Mr Dube.

He said the municipality considered that the Council Chambers will be too small to accommodate residents as evidenced by the scores who turned out last Friday.

“We considered that if we hold it at the Council Chambers other people will not be accommodated like what happened during the swearing in ceremony. So we’re going to be conducting the ceremony at the Large City Hall.”

Mr Dube said police will be there to maintain peace during the process. “And police have confirmed their presence. We want to barricade some areas to ensure that residents do not access a certain area so that they will not interfere with proceedings,” he said.

“We want the process to be done without any disturbance so councillors should be in a position to elect the mayor and deputy mayor of their choice.” Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango urged residents to abide by the law during the election process.

“We are appealing to Bulawayo residents to follow the proceedings without any interference. Police will be out to maintain peace.

“However, they will arrest anyone who will breach the law. They should also respect police officers who will be deployed on duty,” said Insp Simango.

Bulawayo residents yesterday called for the election of a mayor and deputy mayor who are capable of stimulating development in the city.

In an interview Bulawayo United Residents’ Association chairperson, Mr Winos Dube, said residents were only interested in a mayor who has a cultural background and vision of the city and Matabeleland region.

“Bulawayo is not just a city but the capital of the Matabeleland region hence the need for someone well versed with the history, culture and the needs of people. We have devolution coming our way and we need a mayor who will foster development in the region” said Mr Dube.

“He has to respect the culture of this region and have an understanding of where we are going as a people and this should be emphasised without provoking any tribal arguments.” 

According to Mr Dube, top among challenges facing Bulawayo residents was the ever growing accommodation waiting list.

“We need to avail residential stands to our people who have been on the waiting list for a long time.

“The next mayor should ensure we get a permanent solution to our water problems as we all know that we have challenges during dry seasons.

“Our youths in this region are on the streets because our industry is dead, we have long awaited its resuscitation. We want someone who will ensure we maintain our high standards of cleanliness as a city and repair our road network,” he added. Chronicle

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