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    Monday, 17 September 2018

    Chamisa orders Masvingo mayor to step down

    Masvingo Mayor, Collen Maboke.

    •    Expels former Tsvangirai bodyguard 


    MASVINGO – There is turmoil in the MDC Alliance ranks in Masvingo after party leader Nelson Chamisa ordered newly elected mayor Collen Maboke to step down or face expulsion from the party for standing against the party's prefered candidate.
    Chamisa also fired Peter Chigaba, a former Tsvangirai bodyguard who was currently serving as Masvingo office administrator and suspended six of the party's seven councillors for Masvingo Urban.
    Chigaba was fired without charge or trial and party officials were ordered to work out his package. He was fired for words which he allegedly said while in a bar.
    Maboke together with five other MDC Alliance councillors are accused of joining hands with Zanu PF councillors in fighting for posts during the mayoral and council committee chairpersons elections held on Wednesday last week.
    Chamisa confirmed the development in a telephone interview with The Mirror.
    Maboke switched off his mobile whenThe Mirror sought his comment.
    The move has left the party ranks deeply divided with the majority of commentators saying that surrendering the mayoral post and going for a by-election is playing into the hands of Zanu PF as the ruling party will land the post.
    Reliable sources told The Mirror that Maboke was summoned to Harare on Friday last week where he appeared before Chamisa, Zwizayi Murisi (elections secretary) Charlton Hwende (deputy treasurer general) and Morgan Komichi (chairman). He was accused of having connived with three Zanu PF councillors and four in MDC to from an alliance where he (Maboke) would be elected mayor and Zanu PF's Wellington Mawende deputy mayor.
    Maboke went on to win the elections against Godfrey Kurauone and he garnered seven against three votes. The councillors continued to vote as a block with Mawende getting seven votes for the deputy mayor position. The 7-3 pattern prevailed into committee elections.
    It emerged at the Harare meeting that it was actually Kurauone who had allegedly arranged an alliance with Zanu PF but lost out when he dumped  his partners a few minutes before the elections. He allegedly dumped Zanu PF after the party headoffice ordered that all MDC councillors vote him. He therefore no longer needed the support of Zanu PF councillors.
    In anger Zanu PF councillors regrouped and approached Maboke for an alliance which was quickly cobbled together and won the day.
    Kurauone denied the allegations and said no councillor has been suspended.
    Chamisa targeted both Maboke and Kurauone for punishment at the Friday meeting and chose a new councillor Daniel Mberikunashe of Ward 5 who is also believed to be his relative to stand as the MDC Alliance in case of a by-election.
    The Mirror is also informed that Chamisa suspended all the six MDC councillors who voted alongside Zanu PF and slapped them with $300 fines. The suspensions are for five years each.
    "Yes we have asked Maboke to step down and we need fresh elections. This is because councillors defied party position. If Mabike doesn't step down he will be expelled from the party," said Chamisa.
    Political analyst Dr Fidelis Duri said MDC Alliance did not need to show disunity so soon after the harmonised elections which they lost.
    "This is the wrong time to show internal disunity, it is time to work closely together and show solidarity with those who did not make it at the elections and tie up the loose ends. Chamisa is just being emotional, he should cool down," said Dr Duri.
    Prominent Masvingo lawyer Rod Makausi said Chamisa exposed himself by interfering with local government issues. He said Mnangagwa has fared better in such circumstances as he showed maturity and steered clear of council elections.
    "It will be difficult for Chamisa to withdraw his order against Maboke without compromising his power.
    "He was not supposed to be seen to be imposing candidates in public. In Chiredzi Zanu PF lost the post of town chairman although the party had the majority but we did not see Mnangagwa picking fights.
    "If Chamisa fails to reprimand Maboke he will be considered a weak leader, if he does, there is no guarantee that the party will win back the Ward in a by-election," said  Makausi.
    Masvingo provincial chairman, James Gumbi confirmed the dismissal of Chigaba.
    "He was fired by the presidium during a meeting held at the party HQ. He was accused of saying something negative in a bar and was expelled from his position as administrator and from the party," said Gumbi without elaborating.

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