As tension for the heavily contested Masvingo West Ward 2 seat mounts, independent candidate Frank Chirairo who successfully filed for nomination on November 7 said he is confident of winning the seat.
Chirairo got a chance for another attempt, having failed in the August 23 election Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) primary selection process which saw Shantiel Chiwara representing the party in Ward 2, which she won and was later elected Masvingo Mayor.
The ward fell vacant after Chiwara was recalled by Sengezo Tshabangu who claims to be the party’s interim Secretary General.
“I am confident that the residents in ward 2 whom I have worked with during the campaign period in the run up to August 23 election still want me to represent them. I have worked immensely for the party and they know it.
“I registered a lot of people and those are the ones who pushed me to file as an independent candidate having asked me to represent them,” said Chirairo.
He went on to say a number of his supporters did not vote despite having advised them to vote for the party’s candidate and those people would vote for him as their favourite candidate.
“There was voter apathy on the August election because of what had happened during the primary elections, I won the primary elections but upon filing at the nomination court we had a double candidate situation which forced me to withdraw my nomination.
“The votes that were cast in the ward show that there was voter apathy since ward two is one of the largest in Masvingo town in terms of voter population and many were frustrated and I am confident that they will come in numbers to vote for me,” said Chirairo.
Chirairo also said he was still loyal to the party despite running as an independent candidate saying he even has sympathizers from Zanu PF who support him simply because of his potential and the fact that he grew up with some of them.
“I have chosen to go independent because people in the ward still want me to contest in the election with their support and with much going on in the ward, I felt that we could lose the seat to Zanu PF.
“Currently the party is divided and it is difficult to know which faction is on the right side to sign for the nomination papers so the future of the party is still undecided. As it stands no one knows the right candidate for the party because Tshabangu still wields some power until the ruling is overturned, so as it stands I stand a better chance to save the party, in case Tshabangu decides to go after Chiwara again,” said Chirairo
Chirairo said some of his plans for the ward include coming up with a better solution for the families affected by floods every rainy season in ward 2.
“My goal among other things when I get into office as councilor is to assist those families in the ward who are affected by flooding every rainy season as they almost always have to leave their homes to seek refuge at government complexes. My desire is to come up with a viable solution for these families,” said Chirairo.
Chirairo was forced to withdraw his candidature for the August 23 elections after he was accused of fraud and forgery and was accused of forging signatures on his nomination papers after Chiwara also filed as a candidate for the party.
Latest news on Tshabangu however has it that he has claimed that all recalled candidates are not supposed to file for the election under the party ticket as they have ceased to be members of the party.
Roki Kamuzonda who is the former councilor of the controversial ward is alleged to be of the Tshabangu faction while Chiwara claims to have had her papers signed under the Nelson Chamisa-led party.
Chirairo becomes the third person from the CCC to participate in the election from the same party, a development that is being celebrated by Zanu PF which is anticipating that the three could split their votes.
Zanu PF will be represented by Benson Hwata who lost to Chiwara in August.