BY Brenna Matendere
ELECTIONS for Gwanda mayor were yesterday deferred to next week amid reports that rival groups from Zanu PF and MDC Alliance had mutually agreed that they needed more time to campaign, Southern Eye can reveal.
The post fell vacant recently after Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T’s recalled councillor Jastone Mazhale for declaring his support for MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Mazhale had been Gwanda’s mayor since 2018 and elections to replace him had been set for yesterday.
Chamber secretary Hlupo Mhlanga told Southern Eye that the polls would be held next week.
“According to the notice we have issued, the elections for mayor will be held on Monday at 10am at the council chambers,” he said.
While Mhlanga could not be drawn into giving reasons for the postponement, sources revealed that there was bickering over the elections which are likely to be tightly contested as both Zanu PF and opposition MDC formations are eager to control the town.
“However, both camps asked for more time to prepare. Zanu PF wants the position of mayor. MDC Alliance also wants to control the town as before while Khupe’s MDC-T also wants its candidate to win.
“On Sunday, Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T acting secretary-general) and KP (Khaliphani Phugeni, acting spokesperson) will be coming down here to campaign for their candidate. So, a compromise to defer the polls was made by all the
MDC Alliance has five councillors, while Zanu PF has four.
The MDC-T is fielding ward 5 councillor Gilbert Dube, while Zanu PF is backing ward 3 councillor Knowledge Ndlovu.
Chamisa’s party is yet to announce its candidate, possibly opting to announce on the eve of the polls so that the candidate will not be recalled by Khupe before the polls.