Zimbabwe: Gloves Off As Mwonzora Councillors Vow to Contest Kwekwe Deputy Mayor Elections

COUNCILLORS belonging to the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T are going hammer and tongs against their MDC Alliance rivals following the election of Kwekwe ward 5 Councillor Melody Chingarande as deputy Mayor Tuesday.

Chingarande was elected by seven MDC Alliance Councillors and a Zanu PF councillor to replace former deputy Mayor, the late Shadreck Tobaiwa who died two weeks ago.

Eight councillors voted for Chingarande While five councillors aligned to Mwonzora who are Joshua Tinago, Silas Mukaro, Eric Rukavhairo, Mercy Ranga and Future Titora walked out in protest.

MDC Alliance councillor Pikurai Msipa moved the motion to elect a deputy mayor to replace Tobaiwa.

Tinago said MDC-T councillors were not going to take the matter lying down.

"The town clerk is the one who calls for an election after a vacancy arises," Tinago said, adding Musipa has no power to call for the election.

Tinago, who was marked for the deputy mayoral post, said his MDC-Alliance rivals at Kwekwe conducted a mock election.

"As far as we are concerned no election took place. The MDC Alliance councillors were doing a mock election as they were practicing for the real elections which are coming, that's why we gave them space," Tinago said.

"Opposition party's cry day and night for free fair and transparent elections. As councillors, we were to discuss time and sit for special meeting only for the election only. The district administrator was to be invited to preside over the process and not interested persons," he said.

MDC-T Councillor Rukavhairo said the issue of elections was not on the agenda.

"The issue of elections was not on the agenda and as far as we are concerned no elections took place. As far as we are concerned we don't have a deputy mayor the elections of a deputy mayor are coming not what happened on Tuesday. We must do things procedurally," Rukavhairo said.

But while their rivals are fuming, the MDC Alliance has been celebrating the move as a victory for their party.

"The election of Cllr Melody Chingarande highlights Adv Chamisa's commitment and respect for women in leadership. Kwekwe becomes the only City to have both the Mayor and Deputy being female, a historic feat in Zimbabwe," the party's Midlands deputy provincial spokesperson Seachmore Muringani said in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.

He added: "The MDC Alliance victory is clear signal that Kwekwe City comprising of Kwekwe Central and Mbizo Constituency is firmly behind the leadership of Adv Chamisa. Meanwhile, the five councillors who now belong to the Mwonzora outfit, walked out of the elections after failing to agree on a single candidate to field against Cllr Chingarandi. Unprintable words were exchanged between Cllr Tinago and Cllr Eric Rukavhairo who both belong to Mwonzora and both wanted to contest for the Deputy Mayor post," Muringani said.

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