Sunday News Reporter
DIVISIONS are simmering among Bulawayo’s new councillors amid revelations that there is bad blood between the city’s Mayor Solomon Mguni and his deputy Tinashe Kambarami resulting in the former side-lining the later in council programmes.
So tense are the divisions that Clr Mguni has been spotted on a number of occasions working with the party’s preferred mate, Ward One councillor Clr Mlandu Ncube who was beaten to the post of deputy mayor by Clr Kambarami. In the vote by the councillors, Clr Kambarami got 16 votes while Clr Ncube got 13 votes.
Reports further indicate that Clr Mguni and his faction are angling MDC Alliance leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa to force Clr Kambarami to step down noting that the party had initially backed Clr Ncube for the position of deputy mayor, a move that was resisted by a majority of the councillors.
Clr Mguni recently posted on his social media accounts a picture in his mayoral office at the Large City Hall after meeting with a group of potential investors to the city, also in the picture are Clr Ncube, Clr Sikhululekile Moyo and Clr Happyson Ncube.
“Met this delegation from a UK university who want to partner Bulawayo in the development of sustainable urban agriculture,” reads a quote accompanying the picture.
Sources revealed that the local authority was already divided into two warring factions, one led by Clr Mguni who has reportedly vowed to work with Clr Mguni while Clr Kambarami also leads another faction which calls themselves the “anti-corruption” group.
“As it stands there is bad blood between Clr Mguni and Clr Kambarami, although in public they might not show it but within council corridors it has become apparent because the mayor is always with Clr Ncube even when doing official council business, one might even think Clr Ncube is the deputy mayor.
“Further we hear the camp is calling on the MDC Alliance leadership to do what they did in Masvingo and order Clr Kambarami to step down in favour of Clr Ncube who was initially the favourite to land the position of deputy mayor,” said the source.
Contacted for comment, Clr Ncube, who is said to have quit his job at a local supermarket in anticipation of being elected deputy mayor, refuted the allegations that he was a pseudo deputy mayor, claiming he had gone for over four days without seeing or interacting with Clr Mguni.
Questioned on whether he still entertained ambitions of becoming a deputy mayor, Clr Ncube said while he still remained an ordinary councillor, he was awaiting the MDC Alliance for direction on the next step to take.
“For now I am simply continuing as an ordinary councillor while awaiting guidance from the party, as for the allegations that Clr Mguni prefers to work with me more than the deputy mayor that is far from being true because as we speak I last saw him four days ago,” said Clr Ncube.
Contacted for a comment Clr Mguni refuted the allegations saying what happened in the mayoral elections was a past event.
“Those are lies that there is still bad blood between the two of us, we are in good relations with the Deputy Mayor, yesterday (Friday) we were together at a meeting with the minister (July Moyo). We belong to the same political party, we are working towards our goal to develop Bulawayo,” said the mayor.
Meanwhile, councillors on Thursday met to vote for chairpersons of council committees, a vote that was once again marred by factional tensions with each of the factions trying to assert their dominance in council chambers.
At the end of the day it was however, the “anti-corruption” faction that came out victorious with the majority of their faction members managing to win the majority votes.
The winning councillors were Clr Concilia Mlalazi (Health, Housing and Education), Clr Silas Chigora (Finance and Development), Norman Hlabano (Environmental Management and Engineering Services), Clr Rodney Jele (Town Lands and Planning), Siboniso Khumalo (Future Water Supplies and Water Action) and Clr Mlandu Ncube (Audit).
However, for the all powerful General Purposes Committee which is chaired by the mayor and deputised by Clr Kambarami, Clr Ncube who chairs the audit committee does not sit in this committee meaning in cases that the body has to vote over a key issue, the anti-corruption faction will conquer at four votes to three.
On deputy chairpersons councillors elected; Clr Sinikiwe Mtanda (Finance and Development), Clr Mildred Ncube (Town Lands and Planning), Clr Sikhulekile Moyo Khumalo (Future Water Supplies and Water Action), Clr Ronniah Mudara (Health, Housing and Education) and Clr Febbie Msipa (audit).
The selection of the committee chairpersons means it’s now business as usual within council chambers with councillors now being able to meet in their various council committees to deliberate on key council matters with the full council meeting sitting in the first Wednesday of every month to either endorse or turn down whatever was discussed in the committees.