Candidates up the ante as campaigns go full throttle

Alderman Norman Hlabano, one of the two Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Ward 26 candidates in the upcoming by-elections has been accused of using a community borehole project to woo voters.

Hlabano and Mpumelelo Moyo both successfully filed their papers at the Nomination Court and will both represent the opposition party unless the Nelson Chamisa led party manages to get one of them to step down.

In Mpopoma, where there was also candidate imposition, Bekithemba Nyathi later withdrew his candidature, paving way for Donaldson Mabutho to represent the party.

On Monday, Hlabano drilled a borehole for locals that will serve the Mandlakhe Market community garden but his opponents have accused him of vote buying.

In an interview with CITE, Hlabano’s political campaign team acknowledged they had entered crunch time and were intensifying their campaigning but denied the borehole project was vote buying.

“The borehole project started before his recall and is not vote buying,” said Brian Ncube, Hlabano’s campaign manager.

“He started this project working with donors and it was finalised recently. Donors are stubborn people who want to work with someone they know and those they are used to.”

Ncube said due to the disturbances around the by-election, other donors withdrew, preferring to work with Hlabano until he returned back into the office.

“But for this borehole project it happened prior to his recall,” he noted.

As for the conflict between the two candidates, Ncube said the CCC party had “clearly” stipulated all the recalled representatives would re-stand.

“This was for all the recalled MPs, councillors and those who were under the Proportional Representation system. The other candidate (Moyo) was adamant he will not withdraw but people are not confused,” said the campaign manager.

On February 4, 2022, there was a protest in the ward after Moyo’s supporters staged a mini demonstration against CCC Secretary-General, Charlton Hwende who claimed Moyo had withdrawn his candidature in support of Hlabano.

Ncube added that Hlabano’s campaign was going well.

“We have covered a lot of ground, people are responding very well and the campaign is ongoing. We are concentrating on all the areas of Emganwini, going into phases. The campaigning will run until March 25, 2022,” he said.

“Our aim is to have a programme twice every week to reach all the surrounding areas of Emganwini. Generally, people are happy. There are few disgruntled people who are fighting with him as they have personal vendettas.”

Communications manager of the borehole project, Percy Moyo, concurred Hlabano had ‘pushed’ the implementation just before his recall from council.

“The project is called Mandlakhe Market and 120 residents are involved. The project is chaired by Luckson Mkhwebo. The borehole will also assist residents in fetching water in light of the water challenges faced by Bulawayo,” she said.

“Yesterday (on Monday), the borehole was drilled, today (Tuesday) people are clearing the land and tomorrow (Wednesday) fencing around the place will be done. Afterwards, solar will be installed for pumping the water.”

Moyo added the idea of the borehole project was for residents to start income-generating projects.

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