MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa has forced newly-elected Chegutu mayor councillor Henry Muchatibaya to resign, and has since directed another newly-elected mayor in Masvingo, Advocate Collins Maboke, to do the same because both were not his preferred candidates.
Cllrs Muchatibaya and Maboke were elected mayors last week ahead of Mr Chamisa’s preferred candidates, Cllr Mathias Shumba in Chegutu and Cllr Godfrey Kurauone in Masvingo.
In Chegutu, MDC-Alliance provincial chairman Ralph Magunje confirmed that the party ordered Cllr Muchatibaya to resign, saying anyone who defied the national directive faced expulsion.
“As a province, we stand guided by national directives,” he said. “Any further defiance leads to expulsion from the party and recalling of those councillors.
“All councillors are expected to adhere to party directives with regards to election of mayors, deputy mayors and committee chairs in all towns and cities we control. Failure to do that leads to party membership suspension for five years and continued defiance results in expulsion.” The decision to force Clr Muchatibaya to step down has irked councillors, with some of them threatening to defy Mr Chamisa’s directive.
According to sources, at least seven councillors have been ordered to pay fines of around $300 and barred from holding any party position for the next five years for defying Mr Chamisa.
In Masvingo, Mr Chamisa has since told Clr Maboke to immediately resign, accusing him and his backers of defying a party directive to vote for Ward 4 Clr Kurauone as mayor. MDC-Alliance Masvingo provincial chair Mr James Gumbi confirmed that Clr Maboke has been ordered to step down.
“It is true, that decision was made on Friday last week, it was resolved that Councillor Mberikunashe (who is said to be Mr Chamisa’s nephew) takes over the mayoral post in Masvingo in place of Advocate Maboke,” he said.
Clr Maboke was last week elected mayor after walloping Clr Kurauone by seven votes to three, resulting in party supporters erupting in violence as they argued over who should have been elected.
Zanu-PF Ward 6 Clr Wellington Mahwende of Zanu-PF was voted the deputy mayor on the same margin as Clr Maboke.
He beat MDC-Alliance’s candidate Clr Selina Maridza (Ward 1). MDC-Alliance has seven seats in the council, as compared to Zanu-PF’s three.
Mr Chamisa has since reportedly fired party provincial administrator and founding member Mr Peter Chigaba over the issue.
“It is true we were called to Harare together with some councillors and the party leader (Mr Chamisa) as varidzi vechinhu (owner of the party) told me that I had been fired from my post as administrator and from the party,” he said.
“He rebuked me saying I was being big-headed and acting as if the party (MDC-Alliance) belonged to me in Masvingo province. He never served me with a letter of dismissal, but I was fired verbally and I will stand guided by what the law says.