Businessman Bernard Gabriel Manyenyeni of the MDC formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been elected Mayor of Harare as councillors met for the first time following the disputed July 31 national elections.
Harare provincial administrator, Alfred Tome, declared finance guru Manyenyeni duly elected Mayor of Harare after garnering 38 of the 45 votes cast. Zanu PF candidate Beadle Musatye Gwasira got the remaining seven votes, the number the party has in the council.
Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere failed to cast his vote as he is in prison awaiting judgement in a case in which he the state is accusing him, together with 28 other MDCT activists, of murdering a senior police officer in Harare’s Glen View suburb in 2011.
Tome said there were no spoilt ballots in the mayoral election.
The presiding officer also announced that manyeneyeni will be deputised by Thomas Muzuva of the MDCT, who won with the same result against Councillor Garachani of Zanu PF. He urged the new city fathers to ensure to improve service delivery in Harare.
There was jubilation in the chamber with MDCT councillors, supporters and provincial leadership celebrated Manyenyeni’s election.
In accepting the position, Manyenyeni promised to urgently address Harare’s perennial water problems and housing issues.
Muzuva, the deputy mayor elect, said Town House will also prioritize refuse collection, especially in informal settlements that are mushrooming throughout Harare, warning outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid may hit the city if the situation is not attended to.
Manyeneyeni replaces Muchadeyi Masunda whose term of office ended with the July election.
Meanwhile, Councillor Phillip Mutoti of the MDCT was elected new Chitungwiza Mayor and will be deputized by Godwell Mushangwe also of the MDCT. In Bulawayo, Martin Moyo was elected mayor and with Councillor Gift Banda as his deputy.
Zanu PF's Patrick Chidhakwa was elected Marondera Mayor.
The mayoral and local council chairperson elections were also held Monday in Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Kadoma, Redcliff, Victoria Falls, Kariba, Zvishavane, Chegutu, Hwange, Matobo, Binga, Nkayi, Kwekwe and Rusape where the MDC has a majority of councillors were elected into office.
The election of elected councillors as mayors came in the wake of Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s directive barring un-elected officials from contesting for positions within local authorities.