ZANU-PF mayors and council chairpersons are threatening to pull out of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz), accusing their MDC counterparts of reneging on an agreement to share positions in the association’s executive.
MDC councillors deny ever entering into such an agreement.
Ucaz, an association of urban councils and local boards, held its annual general meeting in Victoria Falls two weeks ago where a new executive was elected into office.
Bulawayo mayor Councillor Martin Moyo of the MDC-T, was elected president after polling 43 votes against Kwekwe mayor, councillor Matenda Mdzoke’s (Zanu-PF) 33 votes.
Harare Mayor councillor Ben Manyenyeni of the MDC-T got the first vice president’s post while Ruwa local board chairperson councillor Robson Mushayavanhu, again an MDC councillor, was uncontested to land the second vice presidency.
Norton chairperson councillor Precious Mufahore (MDC-T) was elected committee member.
Disgruntled Zanu-PF councillors have refused to accept an executive made up of MDC-T councillors, arguing that such a leadership would not represent the needs of all parties.
Zanu-PF councillors are accusing the MDC-T councillors of taking advantage of having more delegates at the AGM and grabbing all the positions, reneging on the initial agreement that the posts would be shared between the two parties.
Sources, who attended the AGM revealed that the two parties had made a concession in Kadoma, prior to the AGM, with the aim of making the Ucaz executive representative of interests of the two parties that make up the association.
However, the MDC-T councillors, the sources said, dumped the arrangement and went on to vote for their candidates, irking their Zanu-PF counterparts, who ended up withdrawing from the polls midway through the process, leading to Clr Mushayavanhu going unchallenged for the second vice president’s post.
“Prior to the AGM representatives from the two parties caucused and agreed that they would share the posts in the association’s executive. The agreement was such that if MDC-T won the president’s post, the first vice president and another committee member was supposed to come from Zanu-PF, while the second vice president would come from the former.
“Things, however, did not go as planned as the MDC-T guys ignored the concession and voted for their candidates.
“When Clr Moyo won the president’s post after beating Clr Madzoke, the expectation was that a Zanu-PF candidate would land the first vice-president post, but when it emerged that Clr Manyenyeni had won, Zanu-PF councillor withdrew from the election of the second vice president as they felt that their counterparts had betrayed them,” said the source.
The source added that the disgruntled Zanu-PF councillors had since written a petition to Ucaz secretary general, Mr Tserayi Machinda and copied it to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo, expressing their displeasure at the manner in which the elections were conducted.
Clr Madzoke, who lost the presidential race to Clr Moyo could neither confirm nor deny that Zanu-PF councillors were irked by the election outcome and had since petitioned Ucaz and Dr Chombo expressing their displeasure.
The Kwekwe mayor referred all inquiries to the Ucaz secretary general, who confirmed having received the petition but said the association’s secretariat was yet to take a position on the document.
“I received the petition yesterday (Wednesday) and we are still considering it. We have not taken any position yet. We would need to look at the petition against the provisions that are in our constitution before we can take a position.
Ucaz incumbent president Clr Moyo professed ignorance on the alleged concession between MDC and Zanu-PF councillors to share positions in the association’s executive.
He, however, said he was open to talks with his Zanu-PF counterparts over executive posts.
Dr Chombo, who was expected to issue a statement on the impasse tomorrow could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not being answered yesterday.