Bulawayo mayoral selection process — details emerge

Vusumuzi Dube , Online News Editor

THE recent appointment of Mayor and deputy for Bulawayo has stirred controversy, as allegations emerged that Advocate Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), played a key role in handpicking the candidates.

The claims suggest a clear departure from democratic principles which the party claims to be entrenched in, with Adv Chamisa accused of imposing his preferred candidates rather than allowing a fair and transparent selection process. This stance was also reflected in the candidate selection process for the harmonised elections which saw the party in some instances fielding double candidates while in some, the candidates were almost disqualified from participating in the elections for allegedly filing their papers late.

In Bulawayo, last Monday, ward four councillor and former Education Minister, David Coltart was elected Mayor and will be deputised by Councillor Donaldson Mabuto of ward nine. Adv Chamisa is said to have endorsed Clr Coltart for the topmost position in the city even before the harmonised elections, while ward five councillor, Clr Octavius Dumisani Nkomo was supposed to deputise him but he later backtracked on the latter, instead giving the leeway for councillors to elect a deputy of their choice.

According to impeccable sources, Adv Chamisa had to dispatch the party’s Beitbridge West legislator and former Beitbridge Mayor, Hon Morgan Ncube to ensure that the councillors toe the line, amid revelations that there were moves to defy his imposition directive.

“The majority of councillors had agreed to defy Adv Chamisa’s directive, especially on the deputy mayor position as they were pushing for either Clr Edwin Ndlovu or Clr Octavius Dumisani Nkomo. The idea was to use the two Zanu-PF councillors under the women’s quota to nominate, then second the nomination, then they would get into a secret ballot scenario, which they aimed to blindside Clr Mabuto. However, Adv Chamisa, through Hon Ncube directed that the councillors insist on a vote by show of hands and if the retaining officer insists on a secret ballot, the CCC councillors were to take a picture of their votes before casting,” said the source.

It is reported that faced with a possible defiance, Adv Chamisa was in constant communication with Hon Ncube.

“With this scenario,  a majority of councillors then developed cold feet. This is why when the meeting was about to start, the now Mayor, Clr Coltart requested for a 10-minute adjournment, he was still consulting. It further explains why Clr Coltart was the one who nominated Clr Mabuto to ensure that everyone knows the directive received from the party. Further, for most of these councillors this is their first notable position so the threat of being expelled made them develop cold feet,” said the source.

Before the elections, Clr Nkomo was the front-runner to be the deputy mayor position with the backing of members of the civic society who argued that he carried their vested interests within the local authority.

Efforts to get a comment from the CCC spokesperson, Mr Promise Mkwananzi, were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

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