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Monday, October 2, 2023

Chivhoko tipped to win Gweru mayoral race

Battle lines in Gweru’s upcoming mayoral race have been drawn among CCC councilors amid strong interference from the party leadership who have a preferred candidate against the will of the elected councilors.

CCC took a clean sweep in the city’s 18 Wards in the recent Local Government elections held simultaneously with Presidential and House of Assembly elections.
With incumbent former mayor Alderman Hamutendi Kombayi having lost in the elections together with a number of former councilors, the city looks forward to having a new mayor.

Incoming councillors are Mercy Mangwanya (Ward 1), Faith Chuma (Ward 2), Aaron Mumvana (Ward 5), Lovemore Choto (Ward 6) and Hlupheko Marufu (Ward 7), Martin Chivhoko (Ward 4), Danny Ndava (Ward 14).

Others are Jackos Manyanga (Ward 8), Nyaradzo Madzikure (Ward 9), Admire Paradza (Ward 10), Kumbirai Rutsvara (Ward 11), Augustine Mutusva (Ward 13), Munyaradzi Prosperity Chikwira (Ward 15), Phillimon Mawere (Ward 16), Norest Dzivakwe (Ward 17) and William Mazango (Ward 18).

Due to its overwhelming victory in the city, the CCC also contributes the bulk of the women quota councilors including Sipiwe Kundiona, Miriam Magaya, Ronah Masocha and Olivia Chakauya.

Zanu PF will have one representative Fortunate Mlambo.

Clrs Chivhoko and Ndava are the two councilors who retained their seats from the 2018 to 2023 crop.

The others failed to come back as it was generally believed that they had presided over the collapse of service delivery in the city as the provision of water went to its lowest.

The City of Gweru has been notorious for poor service delivery as evidenced by erratic water supplies, non-collection of garbage and pothole-infested roads.

The Midlands capital city is surviving on the edge and it’s a miracle that no waterborne disease has hit Gweru.

Ward 4 Clr Chivhoko has been widely touted as a possible choice if the incoming councilors who make up the electoral college are to have their way, but that is unlikely as past mayors have been dictated by CCC president Mr Nelson Chamisa.

Former Mayor and now Gweru Urban legislator Dr Josiah Makombe, a senior member of the CCC in Gweru as well as Mkoba North legislator Mr Amos Chibaya who is the CCC national organiser are expected to have a say in who will be the next mayor of Gweru.

Vote buying concerned councilors in such a poll cannot also be ruled out as what happened during the past when Kombayi came to the helm after allegedly greasing some councilors’ palms.

Clr Chivhoko also became the face of resistance after challenging Alderman Kombayi for the mayor’s position after the recall of the then-mayor Josiah Makombe in December 2021 by MDC-T leader Mr Douglas Mwonzora.

Clr Chivhoko faces stiff competition from CCC senator Mr Sesil Zvidzai’s wife Clr Girlie Zvidzai who won in Ward 3 and former mayor Tadious Chimombe of Ward 12.

The Zvidzai family is allegedly close to Mr Chamisa due to Mr Zvidzai’s seniority in the CCC party.

He once served as deputy minister of Local Government during 2008-2013 in the Inclusive Government.

Clr Chimombe insiders allege will fancy his changes because of his previous stint as mayor between 2008 and 2013.

Clr Chimombe received a golden handshake of a Toyota Prado as an exit package.
Contacted for comment, Clr Chivhoko said they are waiting for the party directive.

Asked to comment on what he would do if chosen by the party for the position he said, “I will serve the people with dignity. Service delivery will be at the core of my rein.”

Clr Zvidzai said it is the citizens who will decide on the best individual to occupy the Gweru mayoral seat when the time comes.

“It is not about the positions at the moment but the focus is on provisions of quality water, good roads and other services,” she said.

Clr Chimombe was not answering calls by the time of going to print.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayer Association (GRRA) director, Mr Cornelius Selipiwe urged CCC to conduct internal interviews to determine who will become the mayor of Gweru.

“CCC has to conduct interviews because I am advocating for the imposition of a candidate so that at the end of the day, we hold the party accountable. The challenge we might have is that those with money will end up winning even if they don’t have the qualities to be the mayor. If the party has an internal process or interview, then residents will be able to blame the party,” he said.

Mr Selipiwe said it was unfortunate that the electorate just elected councilors because of a political party they belong to and not because of individual qualities.

“The current crop or the elected councilors we have are kind of prone to manipulation because I know them and they are broke like me, so if they are allowed to vote, they will vote with their stomachs and that is why I want CCC to impose a candidate. We want a

kind of a mayor who will work closely with residents and the technocrats at the townhouse for the development of the city,” he said.

City of Gweru spokesperson Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the orientation date for the elected councilors hasn’t been set yet.#The Sun



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