Local businessman and Ward Four Councilor, Martin Chivhoko has been elected the new City of Gweru Mayor and has promised to clamp down on corruption at the local authority and improve service delivery.
Councilor Chivhoko from the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) was elected uncontested after his tipped contender, Ward 12 Councilor Tedious Chimombe (CCC), declined a nomination by Zanu PF Women’s Quota Proportional Representation Councilor, Fortunate Mlambo, to stand against him.
The surprise of the day however came on the Deputy Mayoral post where Ward 9 Councilor, Nyaradzo Madzikura, was nominated and elected uncontested for the position, making her Gweru’s first female Deputy Mayor.
Councilor Danny Ndava from Ward 14 and Councilor Girley Zvidzai from Ward 3 were initially tipped for the Deputy Mayoral post.
Councilor Chivhoko’s initial attempt for the Mayoral position hit a brick wall last year (2022) after losing to the outgoing Mayor, Hamutendi Kombai from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as the political scale did not favor him.
After taking the oath of office, His Worship the Mayor, Councilor Chivhoko gave a stern warning to all corrupt elements within Gweru City Council that their days are numbered, from the most senior officials at Townhouse to those working on the streets.
“My council is going to have zero tolerance to corruption. Corruption, corruption, we are hearing about corruption.
“You will be given that $5 but that $5 unoenda kumba (you will go home).
“Tinenyaya yevanhu vari anti-progress (we have an issue of people who are anti-progress). Whoever is going to stand in the way of progress, especially you guys, our management staff, if you you stand in the way of progress uchaenda kumba (you will go home). Isu tosara toenda kumba asi iwe uchatanga waenda kumba, vachauya after five years vogokurega urikunze ikoko (we might follow but you will go first. Those who will come after 5 years will also leave you out).
“So we are going to make sure that we fight corruption, wherever it is whether someone has been sent to go and disconnect water and is given $5, they will go home for that $5,” he said.
Mayor Chivhoko also warned council employees that would want to sabotage council operations.
“Ava vame vekuti tichasabhoteja ma Councilors zvigume musiwoyo wamakazvitaura beacuse muchaenda kumba (for those who said they want to sabotage Councilors that must end the day they said that because you will go home),” he said.
He said his success as Mayor will only be with the collective support of Gweru residents and stakeholders.
“The burden of public duty which has been placed upon me can only be discharged effectively if I am assured of the support and cooperation of Councilors, council staff, and the citizens of Gweru,” Mayor Chivhoko said.
He said the City of Gweru is facing several challenges but will strive to ensure good governance and improved service delivery.
“As an organisation we will strive to always be transparent, responsive, and accountable, acting in the general public interest. We are the servants of the people and we endeavor to strengthen the understanding and goodwill that exists between the council and its stakeholders.
“The city is facing many challenges. Despite the harsh conditions currently being experienced by our country, we will work hard to improve the city’s service provision,” he said.
He said roads, public lighting, housing, attracting investment, and business development in the city will be some of the key priorities during his term.
Go Beer resuscitation is also part of his key focus; the farm, factory, and retail outlets so that the dividends can cushion and assist the city’s vulnerable groups.
He said there is a need to revisit some of the contracts signed by the local authority to see if there is any progress, especially on the Mkoba 21 stands servicing which has taken several years to kick off.
Present during the Mayoral elections were several invited guests including the Acting District Development Coordinator Tarisai Mudadigwa who chaired the election process, Shurugwi Mayor and Deputy Mayor, several Members of Parliament (MPs), and former MPs, former Councilors, Residents Association representatives, among several others.