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‘Cheated’ Byo Councillor Bares Soul
‘Cheated’ Byo Councillor Bares Soul
‘Pseudo One Party State To Take Us Back’
‘Pseudo One Party State To Take Us Back’
'Quandary Over Byo Mayor A Lesson for Matabeleland'
'Quandary Over Byo Mayor A Lesson for Matabeleland'
Polls Are Over, But Byo Residents Still Battle With Mayoral Appointments
Polls Are Over, But Byo Residents Still Battle With Mayoral Appointments

The Losing Councillor says he want the world to know "what transpired". 

 …As Cllr Batirai's Election Saga Deepens

BULAWAYO: Losing Council candidate who is also a former city father, Gideon Mangena, says he is receiving incessant pressure from ward 24 residents to contest the election of Arnold Batsirai whom the former claims won the ward under controversial circumstances.

Batirai was sworn in as the city’s ward 24 Councillor last week.

“They say to me, Councillor we want you to represent us,” Mangena told The Citizen Bulletin in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

“Some of them come to me with their problems seeking my assistance but I tell them that you now have a new Councillor,” he said.

“Some of them are threatening to revolt because they say the new Councillor does not even stay in the ward,” Mangena claimed.

But ward 24 residents who spoke to The Citizen Bulletin in separate interviews said “we voted for our preferred candidate” and as such they will abide by their choices.

“Both candidates campaigned and we chose Batsirai because we felt that he will represent us better than the other Alliance candidate in Council, a voter who only identified himself as Collet said.

His sentiments were supported by another resident from Nketa who claimed that Mangena had represented the ward for two uninterrupted terms and as such it was time for him to give others a chance.

“We are grateful of his representation as a Councillor from 2008—2018 but for now we just want[ed] a new leader who will address our needs perhaps in a different way,” said Sehlule Moyo, a voter from Ward 24.  

However, some residents with the backing of local pressure groups opposed to the election of Batirai ostensibly because he is an outsider “imposed to dilute the influence of locals in council affairs”,  have threatened to demonstrate in support of Mangena.

According to records supplied to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for nomination, Batirai resides at house 416 Nketa 6 but Mangena claimed, in an interview, that the former does not reside in the ward.

Batirai was not reachable for comment at the time of publication.

Mangena who won the city’s best Councillor award for 2017 alleges that Batirai used unfair campaign practices to gain advantage over him including tearing his rival’s campaign posters and distributing a fake letter alleging that he (Mangena) had been fired from the party.

“In addition to tearing my campaign posters, he distributed a fake letter insinuating that I had been fired from the MDC Alliance — and he did this in the morning of the polling day in violation of electoral laws,” Mangena charged. “It is because of his actions that I lost.”

Mangena said he reported the matter to both the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. However, the matter is yet to be brought before the courts.

Batirai who recently drew the ire of Bulawayo residents by attending the swearing in ceremony of Councillors late and drunk recently refuted Mangena’s allegations telling the press that the later was just a “bitter loser”.

A communication sent to Mangena by MDC-T chief of party Sesel Zvidzai seen by The Citizen Bulletin distances the party from the letter allegedly dismissing Mangena on the eve of the polls.

Ironically, both Mangena and Batirai were nominated to contest for the ward under the MDC Alliance. But Mangena alleges that he was the only one who had been “officially” endorsed by the Alliance.

“I only discovered during the nomination process that another (MDC Alliance) candidate was contesting for the same ward,” Mangena revealed. I was shocked because in as far I was concerned then, I was the only (MDC) Alliance candidate.”

“I raised the issue with the party leadership (MDC-T led by Chamisa), particularly Gift Banda — the Provincial Chairperson — and they promised to address the matter but they did not until we went for polls,” he added.

Mangena claimed that besides Batirai’s “dirty campaign methods” which scuttled his election, he believed he lost because his nemesis' name was positioned on top of his on the ballot paper, a circumstance which he alleges made residents to cast their votes for the immediate Alliance candidate who appeared on top of the ballot. 

The MDC Alliance swept all the city’s 29 wards with Mangena polling 2104 votes while his rival Batsirai won the ward with 2237 votes, just an advantage of just 100 votes.

Despite his narrow loss, Mangena believes that had there been fair play, he was going to romp to victory. As such, he hopes the courts will objectively determine the matter. 

Mangena also enjoys support from some residents under the banner of Mthwakazi Republic Party — who have been calling for the ouster of Batsirai — although not necessarily on the basis of being elected under controversy — but on the pretext of his demeanour and being an outsider who is not original from the city.  

Both PDP and MDC-T have chosen silent diplomacy on the electoral feud between pitting the two.

Although both parties have been sucked into the youthful Councillors’ drama, they have chosen only to comment about his conduct following his decision to attend the swearing in ceremony for Councillors drunk.

“We are investigating the matter…”, Edwin Ndlovu, PDP deputy spokesperson, told a local weekly publication this week, in reference to Batirai’s conduct.

His counterpart, Gift Banda, MDC-T provincial chairperson, told the same publication that “people should honestly consider the rights of the Councillor and the residents who voted him into office…”

 

Zanu PF is mulling massive constitutional changes that include increasing the minimum age limit for the country's president. 

THE drafting of Zimbabwe’s current constitution was hailed as a progressive step that could lead to the greatest political transformation in the country’s history.

However, after the recent national elections and Zanu PF’s new parliamentary majority, this progress may be under threat. The ink has barely dried and radicals within Zanu PF have indicated that they want to change some provisions in the constitution.

Recently, Buhera South legislator Joseph Chinotimba suggested that his Zanu PF party was mulling the introduction of a motion in parliament to increase the age limits for presidential candidates. This is despite that that the country’s sets out 40 years as the minimum age for presidential candidates.

“A person only qualifies for election as President or Vice-President if he or she has attained the age of forty (40),” reads Section 91(1) (b) of the 2013 Constitution.

Chinotimba claims such an amendment is necessary because some of the presidential candidates who contested “are very young and immature to lead this nation.”

Thanks to Chinotimba’s enthusiastic championing of such a resolution, Zanu PF can amend this and any other amendment they deem improper, under the premise that it was wrongly decided or should have been avoided.

In short, this could extend to any issues that can effectively be addressed by altering the constitution.

Already, the constitution was amended to give the president unfettered powers in selecting and appointing three top judges — the Deputy Chief Justice, Chief Justice and Judge President.

If Chinotimba’s proposal sails through, Zanu PF, which has a supermajority of more than two-thirds of the parliamentary seats, may prevent forty year-old MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa from running for the presidency in the next 15 years.

Such sentiments represent a significant step backward, as the debate is now no longer a complaint on changing the age limit but an argument of unnecessarily amending the constitution.

“Anymore amendments to come in Zimbabwe are a power grabbing scheme by Zanu PF who at times appear drunk with their own power. Meanwhile it is true that emotions can be the basis of politics, we are at a point where we are likely to be led astray by a group of old people who have no stake in the future. We can't be forced to choose between geriatrics for a president.

“We want individuals who have ginger, who are even less than 40 to contest for the leadership of this country. These are people who have the future of the country in their interest,” said cultural studies scholar Khanyile Mlotshwa.

He argued that leaders who respect the constitution were a result of due electoral processes.

“Zimbabwe would have been a better country if they voted rationally. People must join hands in opposing an amendment that would shift control. It should not be easy to have the Constitution amended but if you hear Zanu PF talking about this they may do it,” he said, noting that a two thirds majority is required to pass an amendment.

Mlotshwa warns that Zimbabweans must learn to reject blatant power grabbing by using electoral processes effectively.

“The beauty of elections, campaigns and manifestos is that they provide a way for Zimbabweans to restore a government of their choice, one that would live up to its constitutional responsibilities but that has become unlikely."

"Next time the electorate should reflect and know it is essential for any politician who wants to be in office and for all of us who want to hold our representatives accountable. The challenge is Zanu PF does not believe that one day will come again when they are the minority party,” he said.

Other analysts called Chinotimba’s assertions some of the “biggest news” in the country because of what it could mean for Zimbabwe in the next five years.

Thomas Sithole, a political analyst, said if such a provision was made, it should serve as a wake up call for people to vote for candidates they believe in.

“Zimbabweans gave Zanu PF overwhelmingly two-thirds which can reverse progressive constitutional gains. Much as it is a sad development, it serves as a lesson to the citizens that it is not ideal to give one political party that kind of power We can’t offer one political party that blank cheque. It’s going to be very long five years,” he said.

Sithole claimed that Zanu PF is bent on eroding citizens’ rights yet the same citizens seemed not bothered as they continued voting for its candidates.

“Think about how many times the party can amend it now to suit their interests. Look at the first constitutional amendment; it gives the president so much power yet there should be a separation of powers. Such shows that the executive has more power over the judiciary and this has an effect on how cases in court are dealt with,” said the analyst.

He also predicted that Zimbabwe’s future looks bleak if citizens are not mindful of the choices they make.

“Almost every aspect of your life today is touched by the government and this must never be intended. Power is supposed to reside at the provincial level where people actually have some influence," he said. "We can’t have much influence on certain individuals or individual representatives."

A likelihood of the recently elected councillors choosing a mayor from outside Matebeleland has created bickering within the  MDC Alliance rank and residents.

BULAWAYO: THE quandary and bickering over the mayoral race in Bulawayo serves as a lesson for the region to refocus its politics, analysts have said.

A likelihood of the recently elected councillors choosing a mayor from outside Matebeleland has created bickering within the  MDC Alliance rank and residents.

This has resulted in tribal sentiments popping while  some hardliners within the MDC claim that electing a mayor ‘who is not of Ndebele origin’ might lead to the decline of the city, as the leadership would fail to appreciate Bulawayo’s political and cultural dynamics.

Another bone of contention is that Harvest House would manipulate the process after it emerged that MDC Alliance summoned its councilors, who applied for mayoral and deputy posts to Harare.

Such a move is believed to potentially usurp the power of councilors, who by law are supposed to choose amongst themselves who should be a mayor.

Analysts have pointed out that residents, who voted, may be unaware of the impact of electoral processes, as they failed to scrutinise the quality of candidates and instead chose to vote along party lines.

Social analyst Effie Ncube argued that it was crucial for voters to know the impact of their electoral decisions.

“We hear that the upcoming mayor is not born in Bulawayo. I will be controversial and ask how that is wrong since people voted,” he asked. 

Ncube explained that the essence of voting was transparency and accountability, which were crucial for progress

“Now people are asking how they will hold all these people who are in office to account. What is wrong, where do we miss it? Some even say (president elect Emmerson) Mnangagwa killed people during the Gukurahundi yet those who are victims and survivors of the genocide voted for him. Where do we miss it? At the end of the day even if you talk of devolution - you devolve power into a government structure. 

“Isn’t this an insult to our tradition of Mthwakazi, if people voted for an alien to become a mayor then later you say that person must not be the mayor, who are you to say that? Why should your voice oppose the majority who voted and decided they want that person? I am provoking you and posing this question so you can think deep about it,” he argued.

Khanyile Mlotshwa, a cultural studies scholar, weighed in and said the answer to ending bickering over the mayoral position lay in having a regional party that would represent and consist of locals. 

“The biggest lesson is that let’s stop being divided into so many parties, we should seriously consider a regional party. It is better to be called a tribalist without evidence than to give evidence to it by saying so and so can’t be a mayor of a metropolitan city such as Bulawayo because they are Shona. It is better to avoid a situation from the word go by disabusing ourselves of the liberal fiction that there could be a nation that is post-ethnicity,” he said. 

The cultural analyst noted that if Bulawayo residents want a different and positive outcome from its council, they would have to start working for 2023 polls beginning now.

“I believe we are at a point where we should learn and accept that liberal democracy is not always rational. If we embrace elections, let us accept the outcomes it delivers to us. Whatever will be the outcome of that electoral process in the council chambers, we will have to live with it for the next five years,” he said. 

Political commentator Thomas Sithole, however, stressed that MDC Alliance must exclude itself from deciding who the Bulawayo mayor should be.

“Electing a Bulawayo mayor should not be a process that is manipulated at Harvest House that is tantamount to usurping the councilors’ powers. If the party decides on who should become mayor then that individual would not be coming from a democratic process, which is done by councilors and ultimately residents who are the ones who elect the councilors in the first place,” he pointed out.

Reports said MDC Alliance set a ceiling for all those councilors who are interested in the mayoral and deputy mayoral posts, saying all who are interested councilors should have at least attained tertiary education.

Five councilors are reportedly gunning for the top position and these include Samuel Mnguni, Silas Chigora, Ernest Rafemoyo, Clayton Zana and Norman Hlabani.

Of which Mguni (Ward 23), Chigora (Ward 4) and Pumula councilor Zana were already endorsed by the party.

Mguni, a lawyer, holds a Master’s degree while Chigora and Zana hold first degrees. 

Councillors Lilian Mlilo, Mlandu Ncube, Rodney Jele, Tinashe Kambarami and Felix Mhaka are battling it out for the deputy mayoral position. 

Meanwhile, civic organisations also met in the city last week and concluded that local pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu, must facilitate the organization of a committee that will look into the appointment of the Bulawayo mayor. - Editing by Julia Thomas

Polls are over, but Bulawayo residents still battle with mayoral appointments.

BULAWAYO: Mbongeni Ndlovu (20), a Bulawayo resident, is one of the dozens of first time voters who turned up to cast a ballot on July 30 — the country’s first polls without ex-despot Robert Mugabe.

But like many, Ndlovu did not know the Council and House of Assembly candidates for his ward and constituency respectively. The only credential he knew of for his candidate of choice was the name of his political party — the MDC Alliance. 

“Even up to date, approximately fourteen days after the polls, I still don’t know any of my Council and MP candidates,” Ndlovu said in a recent interview with The Citizen Bulletin.

“You can ask anyone around. Most residents voted for the party not individuals, as such most of us do not know Council candidates who won,” he added.

While many residents voted, most of them did not know that they had accidentally voted for their next mayor. The issue has already stirred the hornet’s nest with some pro-Mthwakazi pundits vowing that the local authority will not have a mayor who does not originate from the city.

According to the country’s Constitution and the Local Authorities Act, mayors for the country’s cities must be drawn from elected Councillors.

Ironically, most residents seem not to know that by voting for their preferred council candidates, they are inevitably electing their prospective mayors.

"Honestly, l don’t know how a mayor is elected, a resident who identified herself only as maNcube told this publication during random interviews with the city’s residents recently.

“I don’t even know how the mayor's position helps me," she said adding that as such she did not consider the mayor’s position prior to casting her vote on July 30.

However, some residents seemed to suggest that the mayor must be someone who understands the city well.

"Definitely the mayor should be someone who knows Bulawayo," an elderly lady who refused to be named for fear of retribution said.

"The rightful mayor must be aware of each and every corner of the city, be mature and at least be older not these young people born in the 1970s,” she added.

Khawuleza Nsingo, another resident who spoke to The Citizen Bulletin, suggested that the mayor must be conversant in isiNdebele, Zimbabwe’s official language predominantly spoken in the city.

"The most important thing is the person should be a resident of Bulawayo fluent in IsiNdebele,” Nsingo said.

He added: "Whosoever will be appointed mayor must be at least 50 years old or so. Older people understand the city’s needs better and have lived enough to learn from their mistakes.”

But Thobekile Ndlovu, another resident believes that the mayor’s job must be assumed by a young person.

“They (young people) are educated and innovative,” she said. “They will bring the necessary energy and ideas to drive the city forward.”

Last week, a pressure group, Ibhetshu Likazulu, organized a meeting to deliberate on the contentious issue of the selection of the mayor and their deputy ostensibly to rally bona fide Bulawayo residents to lobby the MDC Alliance — in whose power the mayoral appointments lies — to appoint a mayor who will be embraced by locals. Editing by Julia Thomas/Divine Dube

‘Cheated’ Byo Councillor Bares Soul

 …As Cllr Batirai's Election Saga Deepens

BULAWAYO: Losing Council candidate who is also a former city father, Gideon Mangena, says he is receiving incessant pressure from ward 24 residents to contest the election of Arnold Batsirai whom the former claims won the ward under controversial circumstances.

Batirai was sworn in as the city’s ward 24 Councillor last week.

“They say to me, Councillor we want you to represent us,” Mangena told The Citizen Bulletin in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

“Some of them come to me with their problems seeking my assistance but I tell them that you now have a new Councillor,” he said.

“Some of them are threatening to revolt because they say the new Councillor does not even stay in the ward,” Mangena claimed.

But ward 24 residents who spoke to The Citizen Bulletin in separate interviews said “we voted for our preferred candidate” and as such they will abide by their choices.

“Both candidates campaigned and we chose Batsirai because we felt that he will represent us better than the other Alliance candidate in Council, a voter who only identified himself as Collet said.

His sentiments were supported by another resident from Nketa who claimed that Mangena had represented the ward for two uninterrupted terms and as such it was time for him to give others a chance.

“We are grateful of his representation as a Councillor from 2008—2018 but for now we just want[ed] a new leader who will address our needs perhaps in a different way,” said Sehlule Moyo, a voter from Ward 24.  

However, some residents with the backing of local pressure groups opposed to the election of Batirai ostensibly because he is an outsider “imposed to dilute the influence of locals in council affairs”,  have threatened to demonstrate in support of Mangena.

According to records supplied to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for nomination, Batirai resides at house 416 Nketa 6 but Mangena claimed, in an interview, that the former does not reside in the ward.

Batirai was not reachable for comment at the time of publication.

Mangena who won the city’s best Councillor award for 2017 alleges that Batirai used unfair campaign practices to gain advantage over him including tearing his rival’s campaign posters and distributing a fake letter alleging that he (Mangena) had been fired from the party.

“In addition to tearing my campaign posters, he distributed a fake letter insinuating that I had been fired from the MDC Alliance — and he did this in the morning of the polling day in violation of electoral laws,” Mangena charged. “It is because of his actions that I lost.”

Mangena said he reported the matter to both the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. However, the matter is yet to be brought before the courts.

Batirai who recently drew the ire of Bulawayo residents by attending the swearing in ceremony of Councillors late and drunk recently refuted Mangena’s allegations telling the press that the later was just a “bitter loser”.

A communication sent to Mangena by MDC-T chief of party Sesel Zvidzai seen by The Citizen Bulletin distances the party from the letter allegedly dismissing Mangena on the eve of the polls.

Ironically, both Mangena and Batirai were nominated to contest for the ward under the MDC Alliance. But Mangena alleges that he was the only one who had been “officially” endorsed by the Alliance.

“I only discovered during the nomination process that another (MDC Alliance) candidate was contesting for the same ward,” Mangena revealed. I was shocked because in as far I was concerned then, I was the only (MDC) Alliance candidate.”

“I raised the issue with the party leadership (MDC-T led by Chamisa), particularly Gift Banda — the Provincial Chairperson — and they promised to address the matter but they did not until we went for polls,” he added.

Mangena claimed that besides Batirai’s “dirty campaign methods” which scuttled his election, he believed he lost because his nemesis' name was positioned on top of his on the ballot paper, a circumstance which he alleges made residents to cast their votes for the immediate Alliance candidate who appeared on top of the ballot. 

The MDC Alliance swept all the city’s 29 wards with Mangena polling 2104 votes while his rival Batsirai won the ward with 2237 votes, just an advantage of just 100 votes.

Despite his narrow loss, Mangena believes that had there been fair play, he was going to romp to victory. As such, he hopes the courts will objectively determine the matter. 

Mangena also enjoys support from some residents under the banner of Mthwakazi Republic Party — who have been calling for the ouster of Batsirai — although not necessarily on the basis of being elected under controversy — but on the pretext of his demeanour and being an outsider who is not original from the city.  

Both PDP and MDC-T have chosen silent diplomacy on the electoral feud between pitting the two.

Although both parties have been sucked into the youthful Councillors’ drama, they have chosen only to comment about his conduct following his decision to attend the swearing in ceremony for Councillors drunk.

“We are investigating the matter…”, Edwin Ndlovu, PDP deputy spokesperson, told a local weekly publication this week, in reference to Batirai’s conduct.

His counterpart, Gift Banda, MDC-T provincial chairperson, told the same publication that “people should honestly consider the rights of the Councillor and the residents who voted him into office…”

 

Tags: PDP,, MDC Alliance,, Batsirai,, Mangena,, BCC,

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