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Hwange Local Board councillors race for top post

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By Bonani Muleya

HWANGE-Residents here voted for council candidates of their choice and now the councillors elect are literally at each others’ throats for the prestigious council chairperson post.

Hwange Local Board (HLB) has 14 ward councilors after wards 13 and 15 were merged.

In the run up to the election, residents knew what they wanted-remove the corrupt council whose lieutenants were once dragged to court for abuse of office and sweeping under the carpet an audit report to protect themselves.

Although the 10 councillors who were charged with criminal abuse of office were in May this year acquitted at the Hwange magistrates’ court, residents are still bitter because the audit report pertaining to the issue was never made public as the crime was swept under the carpet.

The allegations involved a tender awarded to Bulawayo company without going through the tender process,

Out of the 14 councillors, seven were voted out including council chair Alderman Cosmas Ndlovu.

This means there are seven new faces. Thirteen are MDC Alliance while only one is Zanu-PF.

With HLB all but surely soon to be declared a town, the councilors elect are aware the mayoral position is on its way hence are angling for the top chairperson’s position.

However, the returning councilors have the past to deal with.

Fractures have already shown even in residents, some on tribal lines as they back different individuals.

After the local authority opened the race last week, three hopefuls have shown interest and submitted their CVs.

Two of them are former councilors with the third a new comer and woman who looks the favourite, probably giving hope for a female council chair.

RadioVOP is reliably informed that Alderman Admire Munhenga of ward 2, who was once a council chairperson and was deposed because of some scandals in the local authority and ward 1 councillor Ocean Nqobile Mabhena have submitted their CVs.

Fani Chirwa of ward 9 is the third candidate and a favourite for residents.

Sadly, residents have no mandate to choose at this stage as the process will be handled by the elect councilors.

Ald Munhenga says he is the most experienced for the post.

“I wouldn’t know what people feel but I have submitted by papers because I have been in council for some time and have a done a lot hence I feel I now have the experience needed,” he said.

Asked about the corruption allegations against the previous council, Ald Munhenga said: “I’m one of those who have been fighting to have the audit report released after others hid it.”

Chirwa, an IT specialist and banker who is also a trade unionist, also confirmed having interest in the council chair position but would not comment.

Ald Munhenga and Mabhena are both Zesa employees.

“People are already wearing long faces because they anticipated a new government with Nelson Chamisa as president at this stage. We can’t have the same people who hid the audit report lead the council again. We want a competent person who is not compromised and this should be a new person. We know that the former chair Wilson Ndlovu is backing Mabhena because they want to protect their interests and we will not allow it,” said a resident.

The full list of councillors include Mabhena (Ward 1), Ald Munhenga (Ward 2), Mukombiwa (Ward 3), Absalom Kwenda (Ward 4), Tedai Sibanda (Ward 5), Andrew Mupande (Ward 6), Wilson Maphosa (Ward 7), Theresa Mutara (Ward 8), Chirwa (Ward 9) Steve Chisose (Ward 10) Cosmas Nyoni (Ward 11) Godfrey Mguni (Ward 12), Albert Sibanda of Ward 14 and Lovemore Ncube of Ward 15. Maphosa is the only Zanu-PF councilor.

Hwange Residents Association Fidelis Chima warned against imposition of office bearers as he urged parties involved to consult widely other stakeholders locally because once elected the councilors are no longer party officials but government officers.








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