By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE battle to replace recalled Harare mayor Herbert Gomba has emerged between fierce rivals Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa.
Gomba was recalled from council early this month by the Khupe-led MDC-T, which claimed he was no longer a member of the party.
The embattled former mayor elected on MDC Alliance ticket 2018 also lost his post as a councillor for Ward 27 in Glen Norah. He is also facing corruption charges and was recently arrested and is currently out on bail after spending days in remand prison.
However, according to sources in both MDC Alliance and MDC-T, there is a fierce fight pitting the parties as both selected their candidates to contest for the post.
The MDC-T preferred candidate Luckson Mukunguma, and the MDC Alliance’s nomination is Jacob Mafume.
Mukunguma, a local businessman, is the chairperson of the council’s finance committee while Mafume, a lawyer is the chairperson of human resources.
The MDC Alliance still believes it has a majority vote among the councillors and anyone nominated by the MDC-T to be mayor, will be challenged for the post.
The ruling Zanu PF has one councillor in Harare.
Selection for the mayor, a ceremonial post, is done through secret voting by the councillors.
“As the MDC Alliance, we still have a majority of councillors in the Harare City chambers, and anyone nominated from Khupe’s MDC-T will not get in on a silver platter,” an MDC Alliance source told NewZimbabwe.com Sunday.
“The good thing about it is the mayor is voted for by elected councillors and Khupe’s camp will be floored.
“Our candidate is Jacob Mafume who was formerly with PDP (People’s Democratic Party) and Khupe cannot recall him hence his name has been thrown in the hat.”
However, all is not well in MDC-T with the interim president reported to be against the nomination of Mukunguma amid claims he is one of the senior party officials campaigning for secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora to be next party president.
The MDC-T is expected to hold an extraordinary congress soon to replace founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai who died in February 2018.
Newzimbabwe.com is reliably informed that Sunday, Mwonzora summoned Harare city councillors to a meeting at the party headquarters, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House to discuss Mukunguma’s candidature. However, only nine councillors showed up.
Contacted for comment, officials from both the MDC-T and MDC Alliance were tight-lipped on how they will proceed with selection of new mayor.
The MDC-T has recalled 10 Harare councillors saying they are no longer party members.
They are; Gomba, Hammy Madzingira, (Ward 10), Kudzai Kadzombe (Ward 41), Gaudencia Marere (Ward 32), Costa Mande (Ward 24), Happymore Gotora Ward 7, Denford Ngadziore (Ward 16), Grisot Mandere (Ward 44), Jaison Kautsa (Ward 37) and Tonderai Chakaredza (Ward 31).