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Protest vote yields mediocrity in Bulawayo

03 Sep 2018 at 05:16hrs | Views
SAD chaotic scenes characterised the swearing in of Bulawayo city councillors last Friday with irate residents meting out instant justice on a councillor whose behaviour they deemed unacceptable.

Activists aligned to the Mthwakazi Republic Party manhandled one of the MDC Alliance councillors, Arnold Batirai (Ward 24), who was not only drunk but came in late, well after other councillors had made their oaths. His demeanour and behaviour betrayed the mediocrity within his party and exposed the calibre of councillors voted in by the electorate in the July 30 harmonised elections.

Given the enormity of the task of leading the country's second largest city and paucity of quality in the councillors who took their oaths on Friday, residents of Bulawayo can look forward to a rough ride ahead and a continuation of the poor leadership exhibited in the previous council.

Most councillors were elected on the strengths of their party – the MDC Alliance – with voters largely uninterested in the quality of the people they were placing at City Hall. The outgoing council – which again was dominated by the MDC – tainted the reputation of Bulawayo as the best run local authority in the country with some questionable decisions.

There were murmurs when the then deputy Mayor Gift Banda acquired vast tracts of land for a song at Ascot Race Course where he has built town houses amid reports that he is now one of the biggest land owners in the city.

Other councillors were also embroiled in the scandal in which they parcelled out prime pieces of land to themselves on the cheap. It is clear that councillors see their election into office as a meal ticket as opposed to serving the residents. It is regrettable that while we don't condone the conduct of activists who disrupted proceedings during last Friday's swearing in ceremony, the behaviour of Clr Batirai contributed to the fracas.

Tomorrow, the councillors will elect a mayor and a deputy but we are not holding our breath given the calibre of city fathers from whence the two will be elected.

There are reports that embattled MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa is interfering in the election of the mayor and deputy. He is alleged to have picked Bulawayo Ward 12 councillor Solomon Mguni as city mayor but councillors are set to scuttle his directive alleging the party leadership has no say in the choosing of the city's first resident.

Mr Chamisa reportedly chose Clr Mguni to be the mayor and then ordered councillors to hold a caucus to elect a deputy mayor. Sources among the councillors told our sister paper, The Sunday News, that they held a caucus meeting last Thursday where Clr Mlandu Ncube (ward One) won the ticket after getting 11 votes, defeating Clr Tinashe Kambarami (ward three) who got 10 votes; Clr Rodney Jele (ward 22) got two votes while there were two spoilt votes.

The meeting was chaired by acting party spokesman Ms Thabita Khumalo. These resolutions were then supposed to be rubber stamped tomorrow when the councillors hold a special council meeting at the Large City Hall to elect a mayor and a deputy.

However, some councillors were not happy and held "side" meetings soon after their swearing in on Friday to sink Mr Chamisa's plans to control the selection process.

They feel Mr Chamisa wants to compensate for his loss of the Presidential elections by imposing his blue eyed boys in all councils that were won by the party. We find Mr Chamisa's interference in the election of mayors and deputy mayors of councils his party controls to be abhorrent and an affront to the democratic rights of elected councillors.

The MDC Alliance, which projects itself as a democratic party, is trashing the very tenets of good governance by seeking to micro-manage councils.

We are also glad that the newly elected Bulawayo councillors are exposing themselves and their party for the bad leaders that they are.

The only tragic thing is that residents are realising late that they might have made a mistake in putting into office people who are self-serving and out to line their pockets. Their protest vote could have been done to spite the ruling Zanu-PF party but it might come back to haunt them.

Surely Bulawayo deserves better than this mediocrity.

Source - chronicle
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