Councillors from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) in Kariba reportedly ignored an order from party leader Nelson Chamisa to elect ward 6 councillor George Masendu as the mayor for the tourist resort.
Masendu, who is also the CCC Kariba district chairperson, former mayor and the most senior among the newly-elected councillors, lost to Ralph Nyasha Maoneyi (ward 7) in the tightly-contested mayoral elections held on Tuesday this week.
Maoneyi, who acted as mayor sometime last year after the recall of Masendu by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC party, garnered seven votes against Masendu’s five.
A high-powered delegation comprising Farai Chinobva, who is a director in the CCC and Mutsawashe Murombezi, a cluster leader in Mhondoro-Mubaira, was sent by the party to oversee the electoral process.
Sources told NewsDay that the delegation had been ordered to make sure Masendu is elected uncontested.
However, there was drama after some councillors defied the order and nominated Maoneyi to contest for the post. The delegation reportedly sneaked out of the boardroom after announcement of the results.
The Press failed to interview the newly-elected mayor and other councillors after they abruptly disappeared from the boardroom following an alleged directive ordering Maoneyi to step down.
“We were called for an urgent meeting at the former MP John Houton’s residence and the agenda was for the newly-elected mayor to step down for Masendu, unfortunately he could take none of it,” a source told NewsDay.
“The delegation threatened those who had voted for Masendu for rebelling against the leadership, adding that the party would recall them in due course. The threats were mainly directed at the councillors who nominated, seconded and the one nominated as the mayor.”
Masendu had another headache in the run-up to the August 23 and 24 general elections after contesting in the National Assembly CCC candidate selection process and lost to Shine Gwangwaba, who eventually won the seat after beating Zanu PF’s Nigel Shamu.
Masendu then went on to contest for the ward 6 seat, which remained vacant even after he had opted to contest for the parliamentary seat.
Meanwhile, Tendayi Mapondera (ward 9) was elected deputy mayor uncontested.
Kariba has 12 councillors, nine elected on CCC tickets and three under women proportional representation (two from CCC and one from Zanu PF).