A FIERCE fight over the Karoi council chairmanship has broken out in Zanu PF with two potential candidates gunning for the top post.
BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
According to party insiders, outgoing finance committee chairman Abel Matsika has thrown his hat into the ring against long-serving ward 3 councillor Stewart Jena, who is regarded as Zanu PF senior member.
Sources told NewsDay that Jena has won the backing of investment committee chairman and ward 2 councillor Travolta Matekenya.
“We will call all winning councillors and Members of Parliament and tell them our position on who they must vote for,” said a party insider at the weekend.
There are two new incoming Zanu PF councillors Thomas Mbiri (ward 5) and Kenston Kuponda (ward 8) who are likely to be sucked into the fights as well.
Jena was tipped to be chairperson in 2013 but lost out after outgoing chairman Richard Ziki outclassed him with Bernard Gwanzura deputising.
Although Jena refused to speak on the matter, Matsika confirmed that he was ready to take up the post.
“It may be premature for me to say that much but we need to move forward with new blood. We hope the chairperson elections will not be abused for Karoi development. We want someone who is well respected by both residents, workers and investors,” he said.
Both Ziki and Gwanzura did not seek council re-election with the former opting to contest for the Hurungwe Central parliamentary seat, but lost during the party’s primary elections.
Party sources said Jena had party support, but his “soft stance” would be a challenging factor to be accommodated by workers, residents and investors from the farming town.
“Of course Jena is a senior party member, but he is too soft for our management to shake up. We need someone who is not too casual in his approach as the housing and educational committee failed to open Chikangwe maternity wing for three years now,” said a senior employee.
Other workers said although Matsika’s finance department faced challenges due to the economic crunch, he was reputed as an astute policymaker.
“Our councillors lack information communication technology but few stand out. All we need is someone who is confident to run the council out of its mess. He must be approachable and professional. We hope they will consider educational background as another factor among those eyeing for the post,” said another senior employee.
Zanu PF has six councillors while MDC Alliance has four with opposition potential candidate Kudakwashe Chigumo ruled out of the race due to the party’s numerical disadvantage.
“We hope Zanu PF will not use whipping system. We want to support a civic leader and not a political leader for Karoi. For that we will be fighting for our rights to be heard as policymakers who will debate policies in council chambers without political inclinations,” Chigumo said.
Councillors are still to take oath of office as they await the finalisation of court challenge by MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa who has dragged the Zimbabwe Election Commission and President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa and several others to court over disputed poll results.