FORMER Gweru City Council (GCC) mayor Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi has been re-elected as the new mayor of the city after defeating Clr Martin Chivhoko in elections held at town house yesterday morning.
Clr Kombayi (Ward 1) polled 11 votes while Clr Chivhoko got four votes. There was one spoiled vote.
A secret ballot was used to determine the winner in the elections presided over by Gweru district development co-ordinator Mr Ndeya Nyede.
One paper, Mr Nyede said, was written: “Tingagodini isai Hamu wacho (What can we do? put Hamutendi in the position).”
After consulting with Clr Kombayi and Clr Chivhoko, Mr Nyede agreed that the ballot paper be counted as a vote for the new mayor.
Clr Kombayi is expected to lead the city until the next general elections in 2023.
In his acceptance speech, Clr Kombayi called for unity of purpose among councillors and management with one vision to develop the city of Gweru and improve service delivery.
“Thank you, fellow councillors for voting me back into office.
I would like to call on everyone in management and councillors to work together to develop Gweru and improve service delivery,” he said.
Acting town clerk Mr Douglas Vakayi Chikwekwe said the elections were held in accordance with the law.
“We are just doing what the law prescribes.
“We now have a new mayor and hope we continue working together for the greater good of Gweru.
“The ratepayers and residents want development, they want service delivery,” said Mr Chikwekwe.
Clr Chivhoko said in the name of democracy, there had to be someone to challenge Clr Kombayi.
“This shows we have democracy and that is what we wanted to show the residents,” he said.
Clr Kombayi will be deputised by Clr Cleopas Shiri, who has been holding the fort.
Clr Kombayi bounces back having previously served as mayor from 2013 to 2017.
The then Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere fired him in 2017 together with Clr Kenneth Sithole following recommendations from an independent tribunal that investigated the suspended councillors.
Clr Kombayi and Clr Sithole were among 15 councillors that appeared before the independent tribunal facing gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds charges.
Clr Kombayi was then reinstated as an ordinary councillor that same year before retaining Ward 1 in the 2018 elections.
Clr Josiah Makombe was then elected mayor before being recalled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Mr Douglas Mwonzora after pledging loyalty to the MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa.
Clr Makombe is the current president of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz).