THE warring opposition has been further split ahead of Thursday’s Harare Mayoral election with MDC-T nominating Luckson Mukunguma to takeover from recalled Hebert Gomba while MDC Alliance has thrown its weight behind the candidature of Jacob Mafume for the coveted post.
It appears Mafume’s nomination is riding on his affiliation to People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – an MDC Alliance key coalition partner.
It’s standing prevents the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T from instituting recalling measures as they did with Gomba.
It, however, leaves MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa with no dog in the fight.
Mafume will likely protect the interests of former PDP supremo and MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti who harbours ambitions to take over MDC Alliance presidency from Nelson Chamisa.
Mafume’s ascendancy to Harare Mayor would provide Biti with an invaluable asset in the subtle factional wars obtaining in the MDC Alliance.
The MDC-T Harare Province in a statement to Zim Morning Post appeared confident their candidate will prevail over Mafume.
Mafume will hope to get the backing of councillors who were in the corner of Gomba.
It is unclear if Chamisa will rally councillors to vote for Mafume considering his predicament.
“Harare Province is confident that its mayoral candidate shall win the election resoundingly,” MDC-T Harare Province said on Monday.
The Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T recalled Harare mayor Gomba and five councillors last week insisting they had ceased to be members of the MDC.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said he derived the authority to recall the councillors basing on the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe judgement in SC 56/20.
The Supreme Court ruling passed in March said Chamisa was an illegitimate MDC president.
It went on to establish former MDC-T vice president Khupe as interim president adding the party should revert to its 2014 structures.
On Monday, the MDC-T Harare Province said Ward 25 councillor Mukunguma had been nominated to take-over from corruption accused Gomba.
“In his acceptance speech, Mukunguma bemoaned corrupt activities of the former Alliance Mayor Gomba and his cabal of 10 other councillors,” MDC-T said.
“He promised servant leadership by prioritizing tangible service delivery, shunning corruption and separating personal business from council business. He pledged his allegiance to the party for having honored him thus far.”
MDC-T said they had tasked Mukunguma, upon assumption of mayoral duties, to ensure that all council land allocated through corruption be repossessed by Harare City Council.
“The land should be reallocated as per council policy, and defrauded individuals be refunded from those corruption proceeds,” MDC-T said.
Harare has been led by MDC councils since the turn of the millennium.