A LOSING Bulawayo deputy mayoral aspirant Mlandu Ncube has quit his job at a local supermarket amid indications that he is set to take over from deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami, who was recently given a seven-day ultimatum by MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa to step down from the position.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
Ncube, who is the councillor for ward 1, was the party’s preferred choice for deputy mayor, but was beaten to the post in elections held at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) chambers.
In the vote by the councillors, Kambarami got 16 votes while Ncube got 13 votes.
However, the party has since directed that Kambarami steps down from his position or face expulsion for defying a party directive.
BCC councillors were already divided along factional lines over the deputy mayor issue amid reports that Kambarami was being sidelined by the mayor Solomon Mnguni and his faction in council programmes.
Bulawayo MDC Alliance provincial chairperson Gift Banda yesterday could neither deny nor confirm that Ncube will replace Kambarami.
“We will stand guided by the party. For now, we are still waiting for Kambarami’s response. It is the party’s decision and we will follow whatever decision is taken,” Banda said.
Kambarami refused to comment about the matter yesterday.
Reports say a faction led by the mayor has been lobbying the party leadership to force Kambarami to step down to pave way for Ncube on grounds he was the party’s initial preferred choice before he was beaten to the post in elections.
The issue had also turned regional with Kambarami’s opponents claiming that he was an “outsider” in Bulawayo who did not deserve the post.
Some pressure groups had also waded into the debacle, holding protests pushing for Kambarami’s recall.
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance national secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has nullified the expulsion of Kambarami.
Mwonzora told Southern Eye yesterday that the party stood guided by the constitution not personal vendettas.
He said he had written warning letters to provincial executive members stating that their decisions were regarded as “null and void”.
“The main issue is that in whatever disciplinary action is being taken the provisions of the constitution ought to be followed,” he said.
“At no time did the president of our party or the national council authorise the departure from the constitution. Accused persons in our party are entitled to due process of the law.”
Mwonzora said if the province wanted to pursue the matter, it must follow the procedures laid down in the constitution.
“Victoria Falls and Chegutu have similar letters, but Bulawayo hasn’t been written because they have not yet convened anything,” he said.
On October 15, the party fired Chegutu mayor Henry Muchatibaya while six other elected councillors were suspended from the party for defying a directive on the election of the mayor early last month.
Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dhlamini received an expulsion letter a week ago to pave way for Margaret Varley, the party’s preferred candidate.
The matter has sparked a row in the resort town with hundreds of residents taking to social media and public gatherings to express their outrage.