…As Masvingo council elects Chiwara replacement
…CCC plans to force new mayor to step down once Chiwara wins by-election
The upcoming mayoral elections in Masvingo are posing a fresh challenge for Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa as the party seeks to determine a successor for the shortest-serving former mayor, Shantiel Chiwara.
The elections, scheduled for Friday, November 17, are expected to see the appointment of a ‘placeholder’ mayor, with Chiwara poised to take over after a by-election in December.
Chamisa’s decision-making process during Chiwara’s initial election was notably protracted, eventually declaring Chiwara as the candidate in the 11th hour.
While this choice was welcomed by many party supporters, discontent led to councilors having to take pictures of their ballots as a precautionary measure to prevent defiance, as witnessed in 2018 when former mayor Collen Maboke ascended without party approval.
Sources reveal that Chamisa is now considering the election of a councilor perceived as weaker, who would step down after the December 09 by-election, facilitating Chiwara’s anticipated victory.
According to an inside source, the preferred candidate for this strategic role is Ward 9 Councilor Bernard Muchokwa, deemed easily controllable.
“Amongst the councilors, Muchokwa is believed to be a greenhorn who will not cause headaches when asked to step down and pave the way for Chiwara. On the other hand, he is also believed to be able considering his level of education, unlike other newbies Tafara Masimba and Maxwell Madhuna. Others like (deputy mayor Daniel) Mberikunashe (ward 5), Alec Tabe (ward 4), and Richard Musekiwa (ward 8) are considered strongmen who could refuse to step down if the need arises,” explained the source.
The mayoral contest appears intense, with four or five out of 12 CCC councilors eyeing the top post, and unless strict measures are implemented, there is a potential defiance against orders to impose a mayor.
“Four or five people are currently warming themselves for the seat. Mberikunashe and Muchokwa are possible party favourites, while two best friends, Richard Musekiwa of Ward 8 and Alec Tabe of Ward 4, have decided to put their friendship aside and lock horns if the situation allows. On Tabe’s faction Sitemere could also throw in his hat and one of them would be mayor and the other deputy,” added the source.
Mberikunashe’s chances are heightened as he is the current deputy mayor, and is regarded as mature politician having served the same council since 2013 although concerns arise if he contests and loses both the mayoral and deputy mayoral posts.
Tabe’s vocal nature positions him as a potential mayor, but trust issues with top leadership may impede his candidacy though he seems to have support from a sizable number of councillors including two from Zanu PF.
Musekiwa, with experience in council, lacks charisma and a comparable education level, presenting a contrasting contender in the mayoral race.
As Masvingo prepares for the mayoral elections, CCC navigates a complex terrain, balancing party preferences with individual capabilities.
Other sources said a meeting held Thursday (November 16) in the afternoon with all CCC councillors, local leadership and national director for elections Farai Chinobva failed to yield a meaningful resolution and the party position will be announced just before elections to avoid scheming.
The source went on to say the likely scenario will see councillors being forced to take pictures of their ballot paper after voting unless they are saved by Zanu PF councillors as they almost did last time.