Battle for mayor intensifies

There are divisions in MDC-T Manicaland for the position of mayor following the party’s victory of 13 seats over Zanu (PF)’s six in the Mutare City council in recent elections.

Two factions have emerged; eight councillors are reported to be on Tendai Biti’s side led by Julias Magarangoma, the party’s Provincial Chairman, and the other five are aligned to the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai’s faction spearheaded by Giles Mutsekwa.

Last week the Permanent Secretary of the Local Government, Killian Mpingo, said councillors would choose mayors and chairpersons from among their elected colleagues.

The Biti faction has people vying for the post: Magarangoma, former mayor Brian James and businessman, Patrick Matsanga.

An MDC-T insider said: “Magarangoma lost in Buhera North and already the people do not have confidence in him. They also accuse him of openly attacking the party’s leadership during the elections. James was an ideal candidate in terms of development of the city, but the fact that he was fired by Ignatius Chombo raises doubt. Matsanga has all the support. He is a well-educated man. and a son of Mutare”. When contacted for a comment Matsanga said: “The people of Mutare deserve a better life and future. We have everything in our midst and it is high time the people of Mutare benefited from their resources”.

The Tsvangirai faction has David Chimhini and George Jerrison as leading contenders. Chimhini lost the Mutasa North constituency seat to Zanu (PF)’s Luke Masamvu. The source said Chimhini was one of the major sponsors of the MDC-T.

“He has done many projects during his tenure and he has the potential to turn around Mutare. He is a well known human rights activist and businessman,” said the source.

Former Acting Mutare Mayor George Jerrison is said to be in the running for the post. Jerrison took over the reins at the council after the suspension of James in January last year.

“The good thing about Jerrison is the fact that he is in Chombo’s good books. If Jerrison becomes the mayor, Chombo will not be harsh on the council,” said the source.

Other names that have been mentioned include former Deputy mayor, Itayi Masaka, and former ward 11 councillor, David Panganayi, who are both from Tsvangirai’s faction. Meanwhile, The Zimbabwean is reliably informed that Zanu (PF) has individuals vying for the post, as it is in the process of forming a pact with other MDC-T councilors.

Prominent Mutare business mogul, Isau Mupfumi, who runs a fleet of luxury coaches and supermarkets in Mutare and Chivhu, is leading on the Zanu (PF) side.

Said our source: “Zanu (PF) is in the process of courting MDC-T councillors to vote for Mupfumi for the Mayor’s post and then MDC-T will have other posts in the provincial council dominated by Zanu (PF)”.

Post published in: News

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