Mayor, deputy survive ‘coup’

Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo

BULAWAYO City Council mayor Martin Moyo, his deputy Gift Banda and committee chairpersons, weathered an audacious coup attempt during an ill-tempted full council meeting on Wednesday after a group of councillors linked to MDC-Renewal pushed for their ouster.

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda

Nqobile Bhebhe
Chief Reporter

The 29-member council is now evenly divided with MDC-T now having 15 councillors, while splinter group, MDC-Renewal has 14 members.

In a rare development, all 29 councillors were present.

Sources within council said MDC-Renewal councillors were confident they had garnered enough councillors to influence the change of committee chairpersons and later on the mayor and his deputy.

Councillor Sithabile Mataka-Moyo, who is linked to MDC-Renewal, moved a motion to change council committees, including chairpersons of committees, the deputy mayor and the mayor in line with the Urban Councils Act.

“I have found it to be fair that council committees should change, so that all councillors of the city could be afforded an opportunity to know how council operates through its committees,” she wrote.

“As a ward councillor, one is not restricted to one or two fields, but to all departments. So by changing committees, we will be getting exposure to all departments of council and that gives us experience.

“There are so many other benefits that go with the changing of committees, as was indicated by other councillors, which I really consider to be important.”

According to the Urban Councils Act Section 103, committee chairpersons are rotated on an annual basis in August, but this has not happened at the Bulawayo City Council since 2009. In July, a motion to continue with the current status quo was passed.

Councillors declined to change the committees on the basis that change was disruptive and may affect service delivery.

That was before MDC-Renewal had gained inroads within council.

Two MDC-Renewal deputy committee chairpersons said they were tired of their positions and needed change.

However, during a no-holds-barred meeting which saw an almost record attendance by residents at the gallery, with municipal reporters following proceedings seated on the floor, councillor Silas Chigora (MDC-T) ripped through Mataka-Moyo’s motion, saying “councillors are not elected to come and learn in council”.

He said those interested in learning engineering or accounting should enrol at any tertiary institution. This opened floodgates for mudslinging, with the mayor having a torrid time controlling the councillors.

The matter was finally settled through a vote, through the show of hands, a move that unsettled MDC-Renewal councillors who had requested a secret ballot.

Two sets of elections were then conducted, first a vote for the secret ballot, which saw MDC-T councillors amassing 15 votes against MDC-Renewal’s 14.

However, when it came to voting on the motion to change committees, 13 MDC-Renewal members abstained in protest, handing victory to MDC-T.

The plot to oust Moyo and Banda has been brewing since February and Southern Eye revealed at the time that about 18 out of the 29 councillors had been mobilised to pass a vote of no confidence against the two.

This was despite warnings that the plot could backfire, as Moyo and Banda’s ouster could present Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo with a perfect opportunity to set up a commission to run the affairs of the city.


  1. When people do not want to change positions BEWARE!!!! They may be stealing and do not want their corruption to be discovered by the new office bearer!!! I smell a big fat dead rat here. Remember the late Donga and what he discovered being hidden by his corrupt colleagues??? May his soul rest in peace and if his death was not by natural causes, then may the culprits pay dearly as well.

  2. Im seeing proper similarities between MDC and ZANU PF. sacrificing people services posts and political belonging. its not time for fighting to belong to Biti or Tsvangirayi as Bulawayo is struggling like this. Fight on then enter Chombo…………then u guys start drinking the Harare water. Likhohlakele maCouncillors

  3. there we go. mdc renewal team acting for positions. byo has always been doing well. what do you want here. byo council is doing well because it not real interested in party politics which the renewal team is now trying to introduce in our city. please renewal team although we can hear you dont act like zanu.

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