Mayoral race hots up

HARARE - MDC bigwigs in Chitungwiza are jostling for the position of town mayor which is up for grabs following the just-ended harmonised elections.

With new constitutional provisions making the mayor of the second-largest urban local authority in the province, the deputy chairperson of Harare city council, the post of Chitungwiza mayor has become a very important position in the politics of the sprawling town, hence the bickering.

The party’s Chitungwiza provincial executive member Fortune Mangwiro is reportedly the favourite to emerge victorious in a contest that also includes former cabinet minister and party provincial representative in the national executive Fidelis Mhashu and Isaac Manyemba.

What makes the battle for the post more intriguing is the fact that Mhashu, who is the former House of Assembly member for Chitungwiza North Constituency is battling to revive his fading political career.

This follows his failed bid to represent the party again as MP after he was defeated in the party primaries by youth assembly member Godfrey Sithole who is now MP-elect.

Mhashu has previously contested to be the dormitory town’s mayor as an independent candidate prior to the formation of the MDC but lost to Zanu PF’s Joseph Macheka father-in-law to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Andrew Jiri.

Outgoing mayor Phillimon Chipiyo has reportedly submitted his CV also for a second term. He is one of the 23 councillors expelled by the party on allegations of corruption.

The party barred all the expelled former councillors from representing the party in any capacity.

While provincial chairperson Alex Musundire was unreachable for comment, Mangwiro confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday that he had indeed submitted his name for consideration.

“It is true I am in the running for the post but I cannot discuss my chances now because I am still hunting so I do not want to jeopardise my chances,” said Mangwiro.

Mhashu was also not picking up his phone while Manyemba’s phone was unreachable.

In Harare, it is a tussle of titanic proportions with outgoing deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu leading the pack to succeed the outgoing mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, who has also indicated his desire for a second bite of the cherry.

Party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora is also in the running for the post following his defeat in the Nyanga North Constituency by Zanu PF’s Hubert Nyanhongo together with former Energy minister Elton Mangoma.

Gutu was said to be the hot favourite in a race that has also seen Women’s Assembly chairperson Theresa Makone vying for the post.

Zimbabwe Open University lecturer and Mufakose ward 35 councillor-elect Enock Mupamaonde, ward 8 councillor-elect Chris Mbanga, former councillor Warship Dumba as well as Abisha Nyanguwo who works in Tsvangirai’s office are some of the interested candidates.

The MDC won majority local authority seats in Harare province amassing 54 out of 78 contestable seats while Zanu PF garnered 24.

Chitungwiza, being the second largest local authority in the metropolitan province is expected to deliver the deputy chair of the provincial council which will comprise all elected national assembly members and senators. 

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