Recalls Confusion: 3 CCC candidates file for nomination in Masvingo
By Beverly Bizeki | Tell Zimbabwe |
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councilors in Masvingo are already divided on who will replace former Mayor Shantiel Chiwara who broke three records in a space of one month by becoming the youngest mayor in Zimbabwe, the first female mayor of Masvingo City and the shortest serving mayor.
Chiwara with others was recalled by self-imposed CCC interim Secretary General Sengezo Tshabangu on trumped up charges of ceasing to be party members, together with other councillors, MPs and Senators across Zimbabwe.
Councilors are alleged to have already started preparing themselves to replace Chiwara who Tshabangu said was imposed both in the ward and as Mayor.
Sources within the party said there was no clear party position as of now but the councilors were divided amongst themselves and two factions have since emerged.
The deputy and current acting mayor who is ward 5 councilor Daniel Mberikunashe is poised to take over the reins.
However, his election would mean that there will a vacancy to replace him as deputy mayor, and if the party decides to pull the gender card, ward 1 councilor Sabina Chikwangwani is likely to take the position only if they do not consider Richard Musekiwa of ward 8 who has experience in council as this is his third term.
“Though the party has no clear position, as it stands Mberikunashe seems to be the favourite considering the fact that it took the president a long time to choose between him and Chiwara for the post of Mayor and those in his corner are the three female councilors Chikwangwani, Alaika Time and Esther Zishiri who got in through women’s quota, Bernard Muchokwa of ward 9 and Maxwell Madhuna of ward 3,” said the source.
The source further said there was another faction which is alleged to be fronting vocal ward 4 councilor Alec Tabe and Wilstaff Sitemere of ward 6 and these two could get support from the two Zanu-PF councilors.
“Tabe and Sitemere are also eyeing the post and are yet to agree on who amongst them will contest and their faction could get backing from Tafara Masimba of ward 7 and the two Zanu-PF councilors Sengerai Manyanga and Sharon Marombedze,” said the source.
Another source said Masvingo councilors were mooting the Victoria Falls and Kariba incidents where they defied party orders of imposing a mayor and voted otherwise.
“The councilors are threatening to replicate the Kariba incident if the party imposes a candidate on them but they are divided amongst themselves, that’s the challenge. Luckily Zanu-PF has no numbers otherwise it could be a disaster,” said the source.
Sources said Tabe has ties with the likes of Amos Chibaya and that could play in his favor and could make a good candidate for deputy mayor considering his level of education and being vocal in council.
“If the party doesn’t pull the gender card, Mberi could be the mayor and considering ties that Tabe has with the organizing secretary Amos Chibaya, he can be the deputy mayor. He is vocal in council chambers and that could work in his favor,” said the source.
When Chiwara was elected mayor, councilors were asked to take pictures of the ballot papers before the elections were temporarily suspended by Zanu-PF councilors who were demanding an explanation on why they were taking pictures in the booth.
Contacted for comment on how will council elect a new Mayor, Masvingo Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa said the urban council’s act required council to replace the mayor but said it does not give time frames as to when the election should take place.
“The Urban Councils Act is clear, in the absence of the mayor, the deputy mayor takes all the duties of a mayor until a new mayor is elected. The act is not prescriptive on the timeframe when a new mayor can be elected.
“The council in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government conducts the elections. However, if the council takes time before electing the new mayor, the minister is allowed to instruct council to conduct elections, if they fail again then the minister may be forced to appoint the mayor,” said Mukaratirwa.