Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. The election of the Victoria Falls mayor and deputy failed to take place on Tuesday afternoon after a group of local residents disrupted the process.
The irate residents accused Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa of imposing candidates.
Victoria Falls has 11 elected councillors, 10 of them from CCC and one independent. It also has three Women’s Quota councillors, two from CCC and one from ZANU PF.
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube had just finished welcome remarks and invited acting Hwange District Development Coordinator Shamiso Masocha to lead the nomination process when Trymore Ndolo, a civic activist, disrupted the election process and called for its adjournment. Said Ndolo:
Mr Town Clerk, this election cannot go on because of the conduct of leaders from CCC. We believe that we as Victoria Falls have to balance when it comes to leadership positions.
So basically the party already has a position of its favoured candidate who is not favourable to the people of Victoria Falls.
We call this meeting to adjourn right now. We are not proceeding with this meeting.
There was chaos in the council boardroom and council management and officials from the Hwange District Coordinator’s office immediately left the venue.
Anti-riot police officers ordered the crowd to disperse and advised council management to lock doors and leave.
CITE reported that residents said Chamisa’s preferred candidate, Ephias Mambume, Ward 1 councillor, is not their preferred candidate because he is not originally from Victoria Falls.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Donaldson Mabutho was in Victoria Falls on Tuesday afternoon reportedly on a mission to direct councillors to vote for Mambume.
Victoria Falls residents said they will not allow Harare to decide for them.
Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chair, Kelvin Moyo said residents have their preferred candidates and will not allow outsiders to impose a mayor on the city. He said:
As residents, we are going to continue with the debate on who is best suitable but these people are already known. We are a small community and we know each other.
Victoria Falls has made it clear as far as the people they want to be represented by so we expect these parties to be appreciative of people’s expectations so we will continue seeking to have the best.
Town Clerk Dube said the council will consult the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for a way forward.
According to a Chronicle report, this is the third time that mayoral elections in Victoria Falls have been disrupted by residents.
In 2013 the opposition councillors ended up voting for ZANU PF’s Sifiso Mpofu as mayor despite the ruling party having only three out of 11 councillors.
That was after the MDC-T leadership attempted to impose former councillor Marguerette Valley.
In 2018 the mayoral election was called off after Chamisa allegedly tried to impose candidates.
Councillors ended up voting the then outgoing mayor Somveli Dlamini who was then recalled for defying the party’s (MDC Alliance) directive.
Dlamini was later reinstated after the intervention of Local Government Minister July Moyo.