Chinhoyi: A security guard at a local firm is tipped to win the MDC-T race to replace fired mayor Dyke Makumbi.
Makumbi (Ward 12) and deputy mayor Chipo Mlotshwa (Ward 14) were expelled by MDC-T interim president Thokozani Khupe alongside four other councillors believed to be loyal to the rival Nelson Chamisa-led MDC-Alliance.
The other four are Brighton Mhizha (Ward 4), Richard Vhitirinyu (Ward 3), Patricia Chibaya (Ward 2) and Mukudzei Chigumbura (Ward 8).
Chinhoyi Municipality is now left with nine out of a possible 15 councillors.
The frontrunner in the race is Alderman Blackmore Nyangairo (Ward 13), a Guard Alert security detail, by virtue of loyalty to the MDC-T and seniority.
Sources in MDC-T told NewZimbabwe.com Thursday, Nyangairo, a known Khupe loyalist, was likely to win the mayoral post.
“Khupe and secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora have been manipulating the internal processes. Nyangairo is a known loyalist and is the preferred candidate to take over the post,” said a source, who requested anonymity.
Further said another source, “Nyangairo is the most senior among the remaining councillors. He is an alderman and he is loyal to the Khupe faction. Any other contender will be day-dreaming because they will lose as the MDC-T councillors will be whipped into line to vote for Nyangairo.”
Chinhoyi Municipality is expected to convene a special council meeting to have elections to fill the mayoral post and their deputy.
A letter from Local Government and Public Works minister July Moyo to council declared the six ward seats vacant.
Wrote the minister, “In terms of Section 278 (l) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with Section 129 (l)(k) wards 2, 3, 4, 8, 12 and 14 are now vacant.”
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has reportedly been informed of the vacancies so that it prepares for the holding of by-elections post Covid-19.
Khupe has so far recalled dozens of MDC Alliance MPs and councillors since the March Supreme Court ruling, which declared her legitimate leader on an interim basis, pending a party extraordinary congress to find a replacement for founding opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who died of colon cancer 14 February 2018.