Gweru councillors divided over mayor

GWERU — A rift has developed among MDC-T’s newly elected councillors in Gweru, amid reports of factionalism in the selection of the city’s mayor, Southern Eye has learnt.

Report by Stephen Chadenga

The MDC-T seconded Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) central region paralegal officer and Ward 10 councillor Charles Chikozho to the top civic post.

Ward 4 councillor Kenneth Sithole was selected to deputise Chikozho, discarding the candidatures of Hamutendi Kombayi and Ward 11 councillor and businessman Albert Chirau.

Earlier on, indications were that Kombayi, son of the late businessman and former Gweru-Chirumanzu senator Patrick Kombayi, would be Chikozho’s deputy, but the party settled for Sithole on the “grounds of seniority and maturity”, a source said.

Disgruntled councillors, who spoke to this paper, accused Mkoba legislator Amos Chibaya of pushing for Chikozho to be mayor, saying the two were close.

“He (Chibaya), being in the party’s standing committee, pushed for Chikozho since he is his close ally,” a councillor said on condition of anonymity.

“Prior to the harmonised elections, he openly campaigned for Chikozho in the party’s primaries in Ward 10.”

Another councillor said elected councillors should have been given a chance to “scout for their preferred candidate”.
But Chibaya denied campaigning for Chikozho, saying it was a party decision.

“This is a party decision and everyone has to abide by it,” he said. “Chibaya has no part to play in choosing the Gweru mayor.”

Kombayi said despite his ambitions to be mayor, it was proper to abide by the party’s resolutions.

“A party’s directive has to be followed and it’s only proper to do that for the sake of unity and progress,” he said.

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