Chamisa’s hidden hand rocks Vic Falls mayoral polls, again
VICTORIA Falls councillors were sworn in last week and the stage is set for the election of a Mayor and a deputy.
The city, born in 2019, has 11 elected councillors for the 11 wards and three women’s quota system representatives making a total of 14 councillors.
Ten of the elected councillors are from opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and one is independent. The women’s council quota comprises three female councillors, two from CCC and one from Zanu PF. The new council comprises six new comers and five that were retained in the August 23 election, despite complaints by residents over allegations of corruption and disregarding residents’ contributions.
The newly-elected councillors are Ephias Mambume of Ward 1, Tafadzva Mutowa (Ward 2 and independent), Lungile Nyoni (Ward 3), Richard Mguni (Ward 4), Lewis Ncube (Ward 5), Derreck Munsaka (Ward 6), Prince Thuso Dilelihle Moyo (Ward 7), Priscilla Mhlanga (Ward 8 and the only elected female councillor), Mthunzi Mpofu (Ward 9), Nkanyiso Sibindi (Ward 10) and Daniel Moyo of Ward 11.
The three women’s quota representatives are Cllrs Mabukwana Ndlovu, Mariya Phiri and Tariro Mutapwa who is the only one from Zanu PF.
With the mayoral elections slated for today the biggest debate among Victoria Falls residents is on who among the 14 is fit for the post.
The councillors have been through orientation and induction with the election of the two top councillors set to take place at the council chambers, according to Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube.
Victoria Falls became a city in 2019 and needs leaders who can match the status of a city.
In 2013, Cde Sifiso Mpofu of Zanu PF became mayor of the city despite the revolutionary party having only three councillors out of 11 at that time, because he was the best candidate while opposition councillors could not agree among themselves.
After the 2018 elections, it took months before the city could have a mayor as jostling for the post became the order of the day.
The opposition councillors, then MDC Alliance, could not agree on who should lead them as the invisible hand of their leaders was evidently working.
Eventually, outgoing mayor Somveli Dlamini was elected although he was recalled several times for being disloyal as he had gone against party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa’s directive for councillors to choose Marguerite Varley who was also to be recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T.
Dlamini this time around did not seek re-election into council, choosing to go for Hwange West Constituency which he lost on an MDC-T ticket.
He was deputised by Patricia Mwale who also did not seek re-election. Insiders have said opposition party leaders have directed council on who they should choose, with Ward 8 Cllr Mhlanga, Cllr Moyo of Ward 7 and Cllr Sibindi of Ward 10 being the front runners.
Cllr Mambume of Ward 1 and Cllr Mguni of Ward 4 are also being considered for their maturity despite not being the choice of the top party leaders, sources said.
Victoria Falls residents are concerned about the quality of the councillors and would have wanted mature representatives who shun corruption, Combined Victoria Falls Residents Association chairperson Mr Kelvin Moyo said.
“The residents’ view is that it is unfortunate that the majority of councillors that returned to council are those we had issues with in the past five years with regards to corruption allegations, poor performance as far as service delivery was concerned. We only hope that this time around they will change their behaviour and listen to what residents want.
“We currently have a very limited quality of councillors. One would have expected to have more options from different parties so that we have experience and competence options. However, from the ones we have, Victoria Falls is now a city and requires someone with capacity and buy-in from all stakeholders as far as maturity is concerned and a serious appreciation of tourism to be able to market the destination to local and international investors. We don’t want anyone who is tainted in terms of corruption but someone who is going to stabilise council in terms of service delivery and bring confidence to the city,” said Mr Moyo.
A resident who preferred to remain anonymous said a number of the “councillors earmarked for the post are still politically young and immature and giving them the top job would make the city a laughing stock.”
But who is who in council?
Ward 1 councillor Mambume is no first timer. He was in council in 2018 before being recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T for showing loyalty to Mr Chamisa and then, he was in the race for mayorship.
Cllr Mambume, a tourism executive, is known as Mbumez Wabantu in Victoria Falls where he operates Mbumez Wabantu Leisure Centre in Mkhosana.
He is a Human Capital Development practitioner who holds a BSc Degree in Social Sciences as well as a Masters Degree in Strategic Management and Corporate Governance. He sits on a number of corporate boards such as the Tourism Industry Pension Fund, Victoria Falls Children’s Trust, VicFalls Enviro Watch and is the national vice president of the Employers Association for Tours and Safari Operators (EATSO).
Ward 2 Cllr Mutowa is a surprise package in the line-up but represents residents’ aspirations to clean the city.
A sports administrator and holder of a Fifa Level 1 and 2 coaching certificates as well as sports management certificate, who is also Zifa Southern Region vice chairman, chairman of Victoria Falls’ Division 1 team Mosi Rovers, and civic activist, Cllr Mutowa won as an independent after joining politics in March this year during primaries.
He opted to become independent to bring transparency, improved service delivery and advocate for more sporting facilities in the city.
Cllr Mutowa is a Class 1 electrician by profession and spearheaded the connection of electricity to CBZ stands which make up Ward 2 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is also a car dealer and project management expert.
Ward 3 Cllr Nyoni who did his secondary education at Nejambezi and Tsholotsho High, is employed as a host at Shearwater Adventures’ Flight of Angels and runs Rush Hour Butcheries, shop and bottle store.
He is the youth chairman and caretaker for his party in Hwange and was re-elected for a second term after being voted in 2018.
Cllr Nyoni said his conviction is to advocate for youth inclusiveness in all decision making.
Ward 4 councillor elect Mguni who is a pastor, is a veteran who is in his third term and has attained Alderman status. Cllr Munsaka of Ward 6 said he is a mixologist, a bartender specialising in mixing cocktails and a church elder at Redemption Ministry.
He did his education in Victoria Falls and started politics in 2004. He is CCC’s local chairperson.
Cllr Munsaka said as a councillor, he will push for investment in pro-disability learning institutions, a library, hotel school, youth training centre, and policies that empower locals.
Cllr Moyo of Ward 7 is another returnee. He joined council after being elected in 2018 and also promises to represent and prioritise local people in planning as well as leading through combined efforts with residents, developing council policies in favour of Victoria Falls residents as well as planning and regulating council activities.
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A Mosi-oa-Tunya High School product and holder of a Diploma in Business Management, Cllr Moyo is Managing Director of Platform Trading and Fruit and Vegetable Market.
He said he has dynamic leadership, interpersonal and professional skills.
Cllr Sibindi of Ward 10 is another returning councillor who holds a Degree in Development Studies and certificate in Motor Mechanics, as well as a tour guide at Wild Horizons.
He is the director of KoSibindi Shopping Mall and shareholder of Nyamandlovu Poultry Farm.
Cllr Sibindi is part of the CCC district youth organ.
“I joined politics at the age of 20 as a ward member for MDC-T and in 2018 I became a councillor under MDC Alliance. In 2023, I was elected back to council and my plan is to make sure that council implements resolutions that will turn our city into a worldclass tourism destination with sustainable development that will preserve animal corridors.
“I want to bring council and tourism players together for better service delivery and address water challenges. I want to unite all tribes for development and enhance a good working environment for management and council,” he said.
Cllr Sibindi said the second term for him is for implementing all outstanding projects such as the construction of reservoirs, water pumps, improved billing system and ensure there is a tertiary and tourism institution in Victoria Falls.
Cllr Daniel Moyo is another newcomer in Ward 11.
A product of Magwegwe in Bulawayo and Nswazi Secondary in Matabeleland South, Cllr Moyo is self-employed as a curio vendor at Arts and Craft. He is a district organiser for his party. -@ncubeleon