MASVINGO – The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Masvingo City Councillors are under fire from the party and were threatened for failing to attend the ward 2 by-election campaign launch last weekend by the party’s director in the organizing department, Farai Chinobva.
The launch which was held at Gomba shopping center in Runyararo West, to drum up support for recalled former Mayor Shantie Chiwara was attended by some local leaders and only one councilor, Bernad Muchokwa of ward 9.
Speaking at the launch, Chinobva said councillors and the MP who failed to attend belonged to Tshabangu faction (a CCC outfit led by self-proclaimed Secretary General Sengezo Tshabangu):
“Let me tell you this, the election has already been won, so what is left now is for you to go and work. However, there is something that I discovered here; I have seen that there are some who have been threatened with recalls and are now afraid to work for the party.
“We have sellouts who prioritize being a councillor more than working for the party. Chitando (Jeffreyson) called for the launch, and I have looked at the MPs and Councillors from this area; we know who is here and who is not. Failure to come here means you have gone to Tshabangu; that is what it means, it’s clear. You have been intimidated and cowed down, so you can keep your councillor post, but what I want to tell you is that Advocate Nelson Chamisa will get there soon,” said Chinobva.
He went on to declare that the party faction led by Chamisa’s official candidate was Shantiel Chiwara and went on to distance the party from another candidate Roki Kamuzonda, whom he said belonged to the Tshabangu faction.
“My issue here is that I want you to know is that we have an official candidate and Tshabangu’s candidate. Our candidate is Shantiel Chiwara, and Tshabangu’s is Rocky. I don’t know his surname; maybe it’s Rocky Tshabangu.
“What is critical is that the citizens are clever and they won’t go for Tshabangu; the election is not between Shantiel and other candidates but between Chamisa and Mnangagwa. So if you lose this ward, it’s Chamisa who has lost; that is why I have brought the president (Chamisa)’s poster,” said Chinobva.
Contacted for comment by TellZim on his utterances, Chinobva said failure to attend the launch was a personal decision and said some later on sent apologies and gave different reasons.
He said, however, what he meant was that those who want to join Tshabangu faction were free to do so but as it stands they had no problems with any councillor.
“Failure by some councillors to attend the launch was their individual choices; some even sent apologies that they had gone for a funeral, church, and other commitments, so we don’t have any problems with our councillors. However, what I meant that day was that those who want to join Tshabangu were free to do so,” said Chinobva.
Contacted for comment on Chinobva’s statement, the newly elected Masvingo Mayor and ward 4 councillor Alec Tabe said his failure to attend had nothing to do with being aligned to Tshabangu since he had other commitments and said people support in different ways.
“I failed to attend because I had other commitments, and that has nothing to do with Tshabangu. I had gone to represent Councillor Masimba at a funeral in his ward since he is not feeling well. People support in different ways and not necessarily by attending an event so we are in support of her in many ways than just attending a campaign launch,” said Tabe.
Tabe’s deputy and ward 5 Councillor Daniel Mberikinashe had no kind words for Chinobva, saying they support Chiwara more than people who come from Harare. He said he knows the importance of retaining the ward more than outsiders and said failing to attend was not an issue at all.
“We are people from Masvingo; we know how important it is for CCC to win this ward, and we cannot be told about it by other people. Chiwara herself knows how we support her and how we want her to retain that seat. So we cannot be told by someone who is not a politician what to do, especially here in Masvingo.
“I personally had other commitments, and everyone knows that I go to church on Saturday, so sometimes I have to weigh before deciding what to do. In this case, we have been campaigning, and we are still doing that for us to retain that seat, so not attending the launch does not mean we don’t support our party and Chiwara,” said Mberikunashe.
Ward 8 councillor and chief whip Richard Msekiwa said Chinobva had no capacity to classify people and said amongst the local councillors there was none who was aligned to Tshabangu or any other outfit and said people should know that as councillors they had a lot of commitments.
“In whose capacity was he questioning our presence at the launch? He has no right to question us that; people should know that we have a number of responsibilities and commitments, so we cannot be everywhere,” said Musekiwa.