Chaos and Confusion at Chiredzi Council Meeting

A summary of the events and implications of the chaotic Chiredzi council meeting

by Victor Adetimilehin

The election of a new town chairperson in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe, turned into a chaotic and confusing affair last week, as councillors from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party clashed with each other and the ruling Zanu-PF party.


CCC councillors walkout

The CCC councillors, who had won six out of 10 seats in the 2023 local government elections, were expected to nominate and elect one of their own as the new town chairperson, following the recall of their former leader Roger Chikonye and another councillor Musingashari Musingashari by the CCC secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu.


According to a report by Bulawayo 24, things did not go as planned, as three of the CCC councillors – Danford Chikanyanu, Philemon Muchaendepi, and Gift Chigidi – arrived late for the special full council meeting and demanded that all stakeholders, including journalists, leave the room.


They claimed that the meeting was only for councillors and council management and that they had not been properly notified of the agenda.


However, after clearing the room, the three CCC councillors also walked out of the meeting, leaving behind their two remaining colleagues, Blessing Mazinyani and Josphat Nzombe.


They argued that the council management had no authority to convene a special full council meeting and that only the chairperson could do so if councillors raised motions that needed urgent attention in writing.


Zanu-PF takes advantage

The walkout by the CCC councillors allowed the Zanu-PF councillors, who had four seats, to take over the leadership of the town council.


The Zanu-PF councillors, led by Jameson Charumbira, who was the vice chairperson, quickly nominated and seconded each other for the positions of chairperson and vice chairperson, without any opposition.


Charumbira became the new town chairperson, while Liberty Macharaga became the vice chairperson. The two had previously contested for the same post in 2018 but lost to the MDC Alliance’s Gibson Hwende, who was later recalled by his party.


The Zanu-PF councillors celebrated their victory, saying that they had reclaimed the chairmanship post that they had lost in 2018 when one of their councillors had voted for Hwende.


Implications and reactions

The outcome of the council meeting has raised questions about the legitimacy and legality of the election process, as well as the future of the CCC party, which was formed in 2023 by disgruntled former MDC Alliance members.


The CCC party has been accused of being a puppet of the Zanu-PF party, and of using the recall mechanism to destabilize the opposition and weaken the local governance system.


The Secretary General, Tshabangu, has defended his decision to recall the two councillors, saying that they had violated the party constitution and code of conduct.


He has also dismissed the allegations that he is working with the Zanu-PF party, saying that he is fighting for democracy and accountability.


The residents of Chiredzi, who are facing various challenges such as water shortages, poor roads, and high rates, have expressed their disappointment and frustration with the political drama and the lack of representation.


They have called for dialogue and cooperation among the councillors, and urged them to focus on the development of the town and the welfare of the people.


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