The Bulawayo mayoral elections are now on and nominations will close on Thursday next week, July 21.
Though the elections had been originally scheduled for August 13, they were postponed to an unspecified date which should be not later than 21 days before the term of office of the current mayor expires.
Current mayor Japhet Ndabeni Ncube’s term expires on September 10.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has already endorsed Ndabeni-Ncube as its candidate while ZANU PF still has to announce a candidate.
Media reports this week said ZANU-PF secretary for the commissariat, Elliot Manyika, had ordered the party’s Bulawayo provincial executive to come up with a candidate.
The ruling party was recently clobbered in Masvingo when incumbent mayor, Alois Chaimiti of the MDC, stood unopposed after the ZANU-PF candidate, Partson Muzvidziwa failed to qualify.
Chaimiti submitted his papers at 11am on May 13 with Muzvidziwa submitting his an hour later.
The presiding officer Sithembeni Chitsa rejected Muzvidziwa’s papers because he did not have the required five O-levels.
Higher education minister Stan Mudenge intervened around 3pm but he failed to convince the presiding officer that Muzvidziwa’s papers were in order.
Though nominations were supposed to close at 4pm, Chitsa was forced to adjourn the court at 4.05 pm.
According to the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network (ZESN), although the court was supposed to adjourn for only 30 minutes, it continued to adjourn at least five times with Muzvidziwa finally coming back at 6pm but his papers were still not in order.
Chaimiti was only declared duly elected at 6.35 pm.
ZANU-PF provincial chairman for Masvingo Isaiah Shumba said his party would appeal against the nomination court’s decision but ZESN said it believed the Masvingo mayoral elections were now “water under the bridge”.