A group of Victoria Falls residents blocked the election of mayor and deputy mayor on Tuesday afternoon, saying they will not allow the imposition of candidates by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa.
Victoria Falls has 11 elected councillors, 10 of them from CCC and one independent. There are three Women’s Quota councillors, two from CCC and one from Zanu-PF.
Councillors were supposed to elect a mayor and deputy on Monday afternoon, but residents stopped the process, citing the imposition of candidates by Chamisa.
Town Clerk Ronnie Dube had just finished welcome remarks when Trymore Ndolo, a civic activist, interjected and called for the adjournment of the process.
“Now I am handing over to Mrs Masocha to call for the nomination of the office of the mayor,”
said the Town Clerk before Ndolo interjected.
He said the election could not proceed because of the imposition of candidates.
“Mr Town Clerk, this election cannot go on because of the conduct of leaders from CCC. We believe that us 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,”
he said, with residents joining in calling for adjournment.
The council boardroom turned chaotic and council management and officials from the Hwange District Coordinator’s office immediately bolted out for cover.
Residents went into song and dance as they trickled out of the boardroom.
The CCC leader is under fire from the residents who said his 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 and residents said he had been sent to direct councillors to vote for Mambume.
“Harare cannot decide for Victoria Falls.”
Victoria Falls residents chair Kelvin Moyo said the abortion of the elections will delay service delivery as the city cannot operate without a mayor and council committees.
“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,”
Jonathan Ndlovu, better known as Joe Muff, said they will not allow a “foreigner” to lead the city as this will not be in the interest of locals.
Town Clerk Dube said the council will consult the parent Ministry of Local Government for a way forward.