Khupe wins mayoral race

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MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe

HARARE – A Zanu PF councillor was a tie breaker as the MDC-T party got its candidate elected as mayor of Marondera on Tuesday.

The MDC-T last week recalled five MDC Alliance councillors in the 12-ward urban council using a controversial judgement of the Supreme Court from March which MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe says gives her control of elected MDC Alliance representatives.

The MDC Alliance had won 11 of the 12 wards, with Zanu PF’s Joel Mujaranji of Ward 12 claiming one seat for Zanu PF. Mayor Chengetai Murowa was ousted in last week’s recall.

Khupe was only able to convince three MDC Alliance councillors to cross over to her side, and their votes combined with Mujaranji’s secured Ward 2 councillor Simbarashe Nyahuye the mayorship as he beat the Alliance’s Bornface Tagwireyi 4-3.

The MDC-Alliance accuses Khupe of working with Zanu PF and a captured judiciary in a plot to destroy the party.

“There can be no doubt that the recalls instigated by Zanu PF and their proxies are illegal and unconstitutional. We believe in the inviolability of people’s votes and strongly condemn the attempt to subvert the will of the people through elite pacts and the imposition of a surrogate opposition,” MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said last week.

The Supreme Court in March this year declared that the MDC Alliance was a loose coalition of parties, including the MDC-T which was led by Nelson Chamisa. The court said Chamisa – who stood as MDC Alliance leader at the last election – unlawfully seized leadership of the MDC-T in February 2018. The court restored Khupe as interim MDC-T leader.

Khupe, who took part in the 2018 elections as leader of the MDC-T party, has used the court ruling to claim leadership of over 100 MDC Alliance MPs and Senators as well as hundreds of councillors countrywide. Those who have rejected her leadership are being recalled.

The MDC Alliance says the recalls are “blatant electoral theft” by Khupe whose party only won two proportional representation seats in parliament. She polled just over 45,000 votes while Nelson Chamisa won over 2.2 million votes as the MDC Alliance leader narrowly lost to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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