Wednesday 5 September 2018


VOTING for the next Bulawayo mayor and deputy mayor has been postponed to Friday with council officials claiming it was illegal for the special council meeting to be moved from the council chambers to the Large City Hall. The event will now be held in council chambers.

Impeccable council sources said councillors were by yesterday still to decide on which candidate to back, as some of them were mobilising to defy MDC Alliance leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa, who had ordered that they vote for Ward 23 Councillor Solomon Mguni for the top position.

Mr Chamisa had further instructed that Ward One Councillor, Mlandu Ncube, be elevated to the position of deputy mayor.

Announcing the postponement of yesterday’s poll, the city’s town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said they had overlooked a number of legal provisions regarding the holding of the special council meeting at the Large City Hall.

“The movement of the first meeting of council from council chambers to the Large City Hall was illegal. Secondly, we were advised to postpone due to security reasons. We had initially acceded to the plea by residents to hold the meeting at the Large City Hall after the last Friday incident where many had to be turned away from the inauguration because our council chamber is too small.

“In the spirit of transparency, we thought it was the best idea but unfortunately we were advised that the decision was illegal, and as law abiding citizens and council officials we had to listen. We have engaged our major stakeholders in particular the councillors and we have agreed that the meeting now be held on Friday at 4PM,” said Mr Dube.

He said the Friday election was also dependant on the availability of the provincial administrator Mrs Khonzani Ncube who is mandated to chair the meeting.

“The meeting is still an open meeting but we will not be able to accommodate many people hence we urge organisations to send representatives and not everyone as the council chamber is quite small.
“We will of course allow members of the media to attend. The rest of the public can follow the live stream of the event on Facebook,” added Mr Dube.

Council sources, however, told The Chronicle that the reasons put forward by the town clerk were more of a cover up as it was clear that councillors were now divided on which course to take.
Mr Chamisa, who feared that the councillors might defy him, is said to have dispatched the party’s director of elections, Mr Farai Chinobva, to try whip councillors into line.
Mr Chinobva reportedly arrived yesterday in the morning and led a number of caucus meetings with both councillors and provincial party leaders.

Councillors revealed that they initially held a party caucus at 12PM which was attended by 16 of the councillors and chaired by Mr Chinobva.

After the meeting, the councillors then held their own caucus before holding another caucus with Mr Dube and chamber secretary, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou at 3.45PM, 15 minutes before the intended special council meeting, where they then resolved to postpone the meeting to Friday.

“For now it is the deputy mayor position which is causing a whole lot of problems. As for the mayoral position, a majority of the councillors are pushing for Clr Mguni, with his challenger Clr Norman Hlabani not having a majority of the votes.

“However, for deputy mayor, it is a tight race between Clr Ncube and Ward Three Councillor, Tinashe Kambarami. Clr Ncube seems to have the backing of Mr Chamisa but Clr Kambarami has the backing of the majority of councillors. We will have to wait till Friday to see what will happen,” said the source.

Efforts to get a comment from the party’s provincial chairperson, Mr Gift Banda, were fruitless as his phone was not reachable while the acting national spokesperson, Ms Thabitha Khumalo’s mobile phone went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Ward 24 residents held a mini demonstration outside the Large City Hall after the special council meeting had been postponed. The residents were baying for the blood of their councillor, Arnold Batirai, who came late and drunk during the swearing in of councillors last Friday.
The residents accused him of faking an endorsement letter from the party’s chief of staff Mr Sesel Zvidzai which saw him managing to contest as the party’s second candidate in the ward, beating the incumbent councillor, Gideon Mangena by 133 votes. Clr Batirai got 2 237 votes while Mr Mangena got 2 104 votes. Chronicle 


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