By Staff Reporter
THE MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa says it is well set to retain the Gwanda mayorship in a tricky poll to be held this Thursday.
MDC Alliance is facing competition from the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe and Zanu PF which have both fielded candidates.
MDC Alliance has five councillors in Gwanda after the recall of its mayor Jastone Mazhale by Khupe’s MDC-T early this month. Zanu PF has four councillors.
Ntanto Ndlela, the MDC Alliance Matabeleland South provincial spokesperson Tuesday said he expected Nelson Chamisa’s camp to retain the mayoral post.
“We are very confident of retaining the mayorship of Gwanda for MDC Alliance because we still have a numerical advantage over Zanu PF even after the Khupe cabal recalled mayor Jastone Mazhale. We have five councillors whilst Zanu PF has only four,” he said.
“We have agreed on a candidate as a party that our councillors will vote for, but for strategic reasons, we have decided not to reveal his or her identity until the right time.”
Sources Tuesday said MDC Alliance councillors in Gwanda had entered into a pact with Zanu PF to sponsor the ruling party candidate for post of mayor and then get support for deputy mayor.
“MDC-T is most likely to field Ward 5 councillor Gilbert Dube for mayor, keeping Ward 6 councillor Ponalo Maphala as deputy mayor.
“The Chamisa group is likely to back Zanu PF Ward 3 councillor Knowledge Ndlovu for the mayorship in exchange of Zanu backing them for the deputy mayor in the form of Ward 4 councillor Njabulo Siziba,” said the source.
Asked on the development, Ndlela said. “It’s true Zanu PF has approached some of our councillors and offered them bribes, that is why we are dealing with this whole issue so strategically…all the five councillors remain unmoved under MDC Alliance. But Khupe people keep threatening them with recalls.”
Khaliphani Phugeni, the MDC-T acting spokesperson said: “We will be meeting with our councillors. We will cross the bridge when we get there but of course we hope to win.”
MDC Alliance had six councillors in the Matabeleland South provincial capital prior to the recall of Jaston Mazhale as mayor.
This left the party with five councillors and Zanu PF with four.
Of the five MDC Alliance councillors, two are reportedly aligned to Khupe and two to Chamisa with the remaining one sitting on the fence.
If they take this format to the council poll, Zanu PF is likely to emerge winner after the opposition vote is split.