Bulawayo councillors threaten to defect to Welshman's MDC
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This emerged last week when councillors met at Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic Change's provincial headquarters in the city for a caucus to elect new council chairpersons.
Bulawayo City Council is dominated by the MDC-T.
The city council recently resolved to fire council committee chairpersons and adopt the old system of rotating the posts every year in August.
A couple of weeks ago one of the bitter ousted chairpersons, Clr Nduna Dladla, forwarded a counter motion to have the mayor, Clr Thaba Moyo, and his deputy, Clr Amen Mpofu, also fired, a move that forced the MDC-T to send the party's secretary for local governance who is also Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Sesel Zvidzai and Water Resources Management and Development Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo to intervene and break the impasse.
However, in the latest developments, the ousted chairpersons reportedly declared that they would frustrate the party's efforts to elevate councillors they felt were suitable and would instead push for the elevation of the few councillors aligned to the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
"On Tuesday we met as councillors for a caucus where we elected the chairpersons who will then be endorsed during the course of the month into various committees. Surprisingly during last Wednesday's closed-door session the former chairpersons chose to go against the party decision and said they would not be forced to endorse candidates but instead nominate and vote for councillors who are from Prof Ncube's MDC.
"Clr Dladla (former Finance and Development chairperson) and Clr Edward Ndlovu (former Environmental Management and Engineering chairperson) were openly declaring that no one would tell them anything even the party president (PM Tsvangirai). They said the party was now dead hence they saw no reason to stay in the party," said a councillor who attended the meeting.
Clr Dladla is said to have openly declared that MDC-T was exhibiting dictatorial tendencies and that he would fight until the motion was reversed. He is also alleged to have approached the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) to get their support on the issue.
During the closed-door session the councillors were mandated to endorse Clr Prince Dube as the Procurement Board chairperson but the whole process was thrown into disarray when Clr Paul Malaba, who is from MDC-N, was also nominated for the position.
"To further prove that we are in a crisis Clr Malaba lost but got nine votes meaning that on top of the four councillors from MDC-N five other councillors voted for him. Now if this continues, I can tell you that there is a crisis in the making within the council chambers," said the source.
Acting mayor Amen Mpofu, however, refused to comment saying that was a confidential issue and he was not mandated to comment.
Clr Dladla also declined to comment saying he was not the BCC's spokesperson.
Deputy Minister Zvidzai on the other hand said his office had not yet been informed of the recent developments but he would instruct his staff to investigate.
"While I haven't be informed on these developments I am sure by next week I will be in a position to give an informed comment," said Deputy Minister Zvidzai.
The new committees were confirmed last week on Wednesday during the closed-door session with councillors required to elect their chairpersons during the committee meetings in the course of the month where MDC-T councillors are expected to endorse chairpersons that were agreed during last week's caucus.
The new chairpersons that were selected are Clr James Sithole (Finance and Development Committee), Clr Siboniso Khumalo (Town Lands and Planning Committee), Clr Earnest Rafamoyo (Environmental Management and Engineering Committee), Clr Monica Lubimbi (Health, Housing and Education Committee), Clr Prince Dube (Municipal Procurement Board), Clr Martin Moyo (Future Water Supplies and Water Action Committee) and Clr Clyton Zana (Audit Committee).
Meanwhile, Clr Jennifer Bent, who is the writer of the motion to rotate the chairpersons, has also reportedly launched a fight of her own to win the finance committee chairperson position after she was elected to deputize Clr Sithole, a move she is not happy with.
Clr Sithole is the only former chairperson to be retained after he was elevated to the more powerful Finance and Development Committee, a development that was disputed by outgoing chairpersons who argued it was favouritism on the part of the MDC-T.
"The chairpersons are very bitter that they got fired but Clr Sithole was actually elevated. They regard this as being unfair on the part of the party hence they feel they can no longer be part of a party that violates its own democratic principles," said the source.
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