The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO councillors reportedly reached a deadlock over the position on chairperson of the Finance and Development Standing Committee, with a run-off now expected to be held in the next couple of weeks.
The local authority had to shuffle its committees after the Dr Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T recalled eight of its councillors, while one, Councillor Ronnia Mudhara of Ward Eight passed away in July. Further, the local authority was left without a chairperson for the Finance and Development Committee after the incumbent, Clr Mlandu Ncube was elevated to become Deputy Mayor.
This left three committees – Finance and Development, Health, Housing and Education and the Environmental Management and Engineering services – without substantive chairpersons.
According to council sources, councillors elected Alderman Siboniso Khumalo as the new chairperson of the Environmental Management and Engineering Services Standing Committee, taking over from the recalled Ald Norman Hlabano, with Clr Sinikiwe Mutanda becoming the Health, Housing and Education Committee chairperson, taking over from the recalled Alderman Lillian Mlilo.
However, for the Finance and Development Committee, there was a a stalemate after the two interested candidates, Clr Tawanda Ruzive and Clr Silas Chigora both polled four votes each. Clr Chigora who is in his second term as a councillor- if elected- it will be his third reign as chairperson for the committee, while for Clr Ruzive it will be his first.
“There were efforts to redo the elections on the day, or have the two reach a consensus but it was to no avail, so as it stands there will be a run-off in the next sitting of the Finance and Development Committee, hopefully this time around there will be a definite winner.
However, we understand there is now a jostling between the two councillors as they fight for votes with one of them even giving councillors in the committee 20 litres of fuel each just to get the majority vote,” said the source.
Contacted for comment, the Mayor, Clr Solomon Mguni confirmed that there was a stalemate in the initial vote hence the scheduled run-off vote.
“What will happen now is that the elections will be done at the next meeting of the Finance and Development Committee, with the same two candidates and the same people who were present in the initial vote, with the hope that this time around we get an outright winner,” said Clr Mguni.