Chamisa’s CCC loses Chinhoyi Ward 2 by-election as infighting escalates |

By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

FRACTURED Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) paid the heavy price of factionalism after its Chinhoyi Ward 2 candidate lost in a by-election held Saturday.

Little-known Hamilton Jonasi Kapungu of CCC was a compromise card following internecine fights pitting the sole female candidate, Unity Feremenga, and one Chamu.

In the weekend poll, Kapungu was beaten by Zanu PF’s Walter Mutevani after tallying 465 against 564 votes, respectively.

Before the election, Mutevani received a huge endorsement from the party’s bigwigs and moneybags, who included Zanu PF Politburo member Chris Mutsvangwa and Central Committee member Mike Chimombe.

This followed his unanimous nomination to stand as the ruling party candidate without being subjected to a primary election.

Mutevani was thrown at the deep end to wrest the ward seat which fell vacant following the death of CCC’s Patricia Chibaya.

The now-deceased councillor had won her second term during the August 23 and 24 harmonised polls after beating Mutevani.

Sources within CCC told that following Chibaya’s death, popular sentiment was to have Feremenga, as a female, replace the late councillor.

“Feremenga had everything set and was expected to stand as a candidate, but another camp fronted by a senior member (name supplied) suspected aligned to self-styled interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu felt otherwise and were rooting for Chamu.

“The tussle for CCC Ward 2 candidature turned nasty to the extent that both camps agreed to field Kapungu as a compromise candidate. It is sad the result speaks of a party in turmoil,” said a CCC insider.

During the campaign trail, Mutevani, who narrowly lost the August polls by 25 votes, promised the electorate to fix perennial water shortages, impassible roads and street lighting, among other shortcomings.

“If elected into office, l pledge to lobby the council to end problems currently afflicting Chinhoyi Ward 2 residents such as unavailability of water, bad roads and street lights. Also, l will use my resources to resolve some of the challenges,” said the gold buyer.

Ahead of the August 23 and 24 elections, Mutevani rolled out a free medical treatment outreach programme for the elderly, which he also promised to extend into the future.

Chinhoyi Ward 2, which is home to hundreds of elderly people, comprises the oldest township of Gadzema.

In Chinhoyi, of the 15 wards Zanu PF now has three elected councillors and two proportional representatives, one independent councillor while CCC had 12 elected and three seconded through the women quota before recent recalls by Tshabangu that claimed the scalps of five councillors.

As it stands, two other by-elections are pending in Chinhoyi to replace axed CCC councillors, Dyke Makumbi and Lovemore Kurwakumire.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has issued a preliminary statement on the Chinhoyi Municipality Ward 2 by-election describing the just-ended poll as free and fair.

“The pre-election period was by and large peaceful across the ward…Voter turnout was relatively low, with 39.2% of people turning out to vote. At Domestic
Science Hall polling station 351 out of 846 registered voters turned out to vote, whilst 217 out of a total of 539 voted at Municipal Sub-office A.

“At the four (4) polling stations, the number of people turned away for several reasons including names not on the voter’s roll and turning up to the polling stations with the unacceptable documents was low,” reads the ZESN report.

“At Chinhoyi Hall polling station, three (3) people were turned away and three were redirected to other polling stations. The highest number of turned away persons was recorded at the Domestic Science Hall polling station where eight (8)
people were turned away while two (2) were redirected.

“At Municipal Sub-office B polling station, only one (1) person was turned away and two (2) were redirected while at Municipal Sub-office A polling station three (3) people were turned away and one (1) redirected.”

ZESN commended the electorate for peacefully choosing their preferred representative in council during the Chinhoyi Municipality Ward 2 by-election.

ZESN recommended the need for greater political literacy amongst the electorate to ensure improved voter turnout in local authority by-elections and the enjoyment of political and electoral rights afforded them by Section 67 of the Constitution.

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