Sunday 2 September 2018


EMBATTLED MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa last week picked Bulawayo Ward 12 councillor Solomon Mguni as city mayor but councillors are set to scuttle his directive alleging the party leadership has no say in the choosing of the city’s first resident, it has been learnt.

Mr Chamisa last week reportedly chose Clr Mguni to be the mayor and then ordered  councillors to hold a caucus to elect a deputy mayor. Sources among the councillors confirmed that they held a caucus meeting on Thursday where Clr Mlandu Ncube (Ward One) won the ticket after getting 11 votes, defeating Clr Tinashe Kambarami (Ward Three) who got 10 votes; Clr Rodney Jele (Ward 22) got two votes while there were two spoilt votes. The meeting was chaired by acting party spokesman Ms Thabita Khumalo. The two spoilt votes were reportedly written “Kunashe”.

These resolutions were then supposed to be rubber stamped on Tuesday when the councillors hold a special council meeting at the Large City Hall to elect a mayor and a deputy. However, Sunday News has gathered that some councillors were not happy and held “side” meetings soon after their swearing in on Friday to sink Mr Chamisa’s plans to control the selection process.

They feel Mr Chamisa wanted to compensate for his loss of the Presidential elections by imposing his blue-eyed boys in all councils that were won by the party. Sunday News managed to get insight into some of the councillors caucus meetings on Friday and yesterday where councillors were strategising against the party directive on who to elect into the contentious positions.

The councillors initially had no qualms with Clr Mguni taking over as mayor but by yesterday they were now planning to “disappoint” him and instead vote for Ward 26 councillor, Norman Hlabani while for deputy mayor some councillors were now angling for Clr Kambarami.

“Councillors are just not happy at the interference of the party leadership. The councillors are pushing that they vote for their own preferred candidate. The battle, however, is more for the deputy mayor position where Clr Kambarami is squaring off with Clr Ncube. So as it stands, we have some councillors pushing that we rebel on the party decision on Clr Ncube. For the mayoral position, however, a majority have already endorsed Clr Mguni but there is a small figure which is now throwing in the name of Clr Norman Hlabani,” said the source.

Contacted for comment the party’s provincial chairperson, Mr Gift Banda referred all questions to Ms Khumalo who is said to have presided over the councillors’ party caucus that endorsed Clrs Mguni and Ncube. Ms Khumalo, while confirming that the party caucus took place declined to comment on the matter saying the issue  was a provincial one which would be handled at that level.

The MDC Alliance recently held interviews for interested candidates to fill the two positions. However, the election of the mayor and deputy mayor has been divisive with the MDC-T leadership meddling in the process. The local authority’s spokesperson, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu was recently quoted in the media saying that in terms of the law the mayor and deputy mayor are elected in the first sitting of council in a meeting that is chaired by the Provincial Administrator.

“The Mayor is elected in terms of Section 103 of the Urban Council’s Act Chapter 29:15 as read with Section 277 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Number 20 of 2013. In terms of this legislation, the first meeting of Council is chaired by the Provincial Administrator. In that meeting, elected Councillors elect one among themselves to be Mayor and another to be Deputy Mayor. Each Councillor has one vote for each post.

“The Provincial Administrator does not vote (has no voting rights) and only chairs the meeting. The Town Clerk and Chamber Secretary while in attendance and the latter taking record of proceedings are not active participants at this meeting. They may assist with logistic arrangements,” said Mrs Mpofu. Sunday News


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