In a highly anticipated move, the town of Redcliff has elected a new mayor amongst the nine councilors from the Citizens for Coalition Change (CCC) party. However, the decision has left some CCC supporters dissatisfied with the criteria used in the appointment process.
Following a dominated contested mayoral race by councilor Clayton Masiyatsva, a determined and experienced member of the CCC party over Josephine Mutamangira (Zanu-PF) of the women’s quota. Masiyatsva emerged victorious with a majority of votes. The announcement was met with both enthusiasm and apprehension, as many residents were eager for change but harbored concerns about the underlying selection process.
The discontent arises from the perceived lack of transparency and inclusivity in determining the appointment criteria. CCC supporters argue that the party’s members were not adequately consulted, and the criteria used to appoint the new mayor seemed to overlook the voices and aspirations of party loyalists.
“Our appeal to the President (CCC President Nelson Chamisa) is that he should not impose the mayor and deputy mayor for us. This is because we are the ones who are close to them, we want to choose for ourselves. Because we know who is right, and who is wrong. From what we have heard, we understand that the President is the one who provided these names. This is wrong, we want to choose the mayor and deputy that we wish for, not for them to impose on us. The President should give us the opportunity to select the ones we want,” said a disgruntled CCC supporter who refused identification.
“I have been a CCC true supporter since it was MDC, and the truth is I am not happy with the way they selected the mayors. It is as if everything is all about Torwood because both the mayor and his deputy are from Torwood. Last time the mayor focused on the development of a cemetery in Torwood only and ignored the ones in Rutendo, and Redcliff yet he is the Redcliff mayor. The mayor of Redcliff should strive to develop every part of Redcliff, and not one side he should not be biased towards Torwood only,” remarked another CCC party supporter.
“I am not happy with the re-election of the mayors. We should have changed and appointed new faces. Actually, when I saw some messages on social media today it showed me that the election done in the chambers was not necessary because they already knew who was going to be appointed. If such a directive is coming from the high authorities, it is wrong because we want to be given the opportunity to choose the mayors we see necessary, we are not even happy,”
While many Redcliff residents acknowledge the need for a mayor who can effectively address the challenges faced by the town, they also emphasize the significance of open and fair decision-making processes that truly reflect the will of the community.
“My appeal to our President is that there needs to be development in both the three areas under the Redcliff City. Why can’t they also elect a deputy mayor from other areas rather than having both mayors from the same area? We appeal to them to fix this issue. We are crying, we do not want that person. The party President will vote for himself in 2028 if he is the one who imposed the mayor, and his deputy,” said Virginia Muguti.
In response to the concerns raised by CCC supporters, Mayor Clayton Masiyatsva refuted the allegations that he has been focusing on one area, arguing that those are baseless accusations.
“We do not reside on one side, but we are Redcliff residents. Wards do have their representatives elected on 23 August. In my outgoing speech as Mayor last term I highlighted our achievements which cut across the whole of Redcliff so the allegations or accusations are baseless. Our party has its own processes to choose mayors across the country and everyone was consulted. I am ready to serve Redcliff and unite the people. If you go through the speech you will see some of the work we did. I even built the Rutendo old people’s home dining hall. I assisted on the construction of Gogo Zulu’s house which was burnt down by the fire,” he said.
In the outgoing speech that the mayor alluded to, which he sent to this reporter, several projects are highlighted to have been done in all Redcliff areas including Rutendo, Redcliff, and even Torwood.
“…WASH-2km Simbi Park water line, Rutendo Secondary sewer, Torwood diversion water line, A section water line, Chirorodziva sewer line. Roads-linksway resealing, Townsend, Sally Mugabe. The achievements named above are some of the key successes of the outgoing council. A peaceful harmonious and cordial industrial relations climate existed during the council’s term with its employees. The local authority managed to purchase two health facilities which will improve the livelihood of residents by making health care services available locally. Residents have had to travel in excess of 15km to access medical services,” reads part of the speech.
“Cllr Masiyatsva is hard working and always makes sure that people are doing their jobs well in serving the Redcliff community. He strives to make sure that his committee is doing what they are supposed to do in service delivery to the residents. We worked with him well here at the townhouse last term, and we expect to work with him again for the next five years,” remarked a council employee who pleaded for anonymity.
In response to the concerns raised by CCC supporters, Musaigwa, the Deputy Chairperson for Redcliff constituents said that the mayor and his deputy were selected on the basis of being able to deliver, and not on academics or which area they come from. He also said the mayor and his deputy have a solid background in the party, and this qualifies them to be in those positions.
“We are happy with the appointment of the mayor, and his deputy. We are in the struggle to remove Zanu-Pf in power. We are pleased with the appointment of these mayors because they support the struggle that is being led by our President Nelson Chamisa. Going forward we expect them to select a committee that will deliver because we are the majority in the council with nine councilors though we failed to field PR for women, Zanu-PF has three, but going forward this will be fixed. We also expect to take over all the committees. We are also saying that it should not be about the positions in the council but service delivery is paramount, so that we safeguard the party because we have elected these leaders because of the party.
“We have come a long way with this party because it is a political thing, it is not administrative. Since 2000 we have been having mayors, and MPs from this side. It is not about which side, it is a political position to be a mayor but, we look at who is active in the position that we are appointing in terms of politics, and not academically, or administrative. It is not about which area, but who is active in the position that we are appointing him as a party we are not appointing them on which area they are coming from, but who is active in the position that we are appointing him. We have also looked at where they are coming from, their political background. It is not about the area that they are coming from. In previous years we have had executive mayors from Redcliff, and Rutendo, including MPs for two terms who came from Redcliff. So it is not about which area they are coming from,” he said.
Westwell Mapetese who works in the Office of former Redcliff Mp Mukapiko’s office said that the process of selecting mayors involves submitting CVs for those councilors who wish to be mayors. This is when the right candidates are chosen.
“I agree with what the residents are saying, the mayors are both from the same area but, we are looking at who is capable of doing the work in the council. The newly appointed mayor was there previously, and we are happy that he has experience in the council, so we expect him to continue with the programs he has been implementing previously. The deputy mayor on the other hand has retained his position again, so we are happy that they will continue with development.
“I do not agree with those who are saying the President has imposed the mayors for us, the president is there to guide us, but the decision, and selection process is left to us the people. This process starts when the councilors hand in their CVs if they intend to assume the positions. So this is what happened, the councilors handed in their CVs, and it was verified by a high panel, the councilors were there including other stakeholders.
“So going forward we expect that CCC supporters will accept the outcome of the selected mayors so that we work together for the development of the community of Redcliff. It is not true that development is being witnessed in one area because you can notice development in every area as well. But the truth of the matter is even if Redcliff council may want to initiate more programs, the council is not strong financially, because they have nowhere to get the money from. We used to rely on ZISCO which has long been closed, that is where the majority used to work. We are also having persistent water challenges here, and have to rely on Kwekwe City Council for water. Residents are also failing to pay water bills because they have been unemployed ever since ZISCO closed, it is difficult to make money here, so development is limited,” said Mapetese.
Meanwhile, Mayor Masiyatsva has assured residents that the council’s billing system will be reviewed because he has heard their appeals.
“…the road rehabilitation program from ZISCO up to Batanai was not finished people are tied of dust road. We cannot let the residents get affected by the dust for ten years. We hope that we are going to fix that challenge. We are also supposed to address our billing system because the residents are complaining about tariffs, so we have to look into that as soon as possible…” he said.
As the new mayor assumes office, the focus now turns towards uniting the community behind common goals while addressing the concerns expressed by CCC supporters. The hope is that, through constructive dialogue and a commitment the CCC supporters will rally behind the mayors.