MDC ALLIANCE-SPONSORED candidate Jacob Mafume (43) was yesterday scraped through to land the Harare mayoral post in a tightly contested election, where he was pitted against Luckson Mukunguma of the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T.
Mafume garnered 19 votes against Mukunguma’s 14, but MDC Alliance supporters’ victory celebrations were cut short by police who maintained a heavy presence at Town House as factional tension threatened to boil over.
Mafume immediately took the oath of office to replace MDC Alliance’s Herbert Gomba, who was recalled by the MDC-T together with five other councillors after they refused to dump their leader Nelson Chamisa and join Khupe’s camp.
In his acceptance speech, Clr Mafume thanked fellow councillors for bestowing faith in him.
Mafume said his focus would be on service delivery and not political wars.
“The residents are for all, every councillor comes from a ward where people want water, refuse collected and want services done. We should manage the city for everyone, for MDC and Zanu PF and all the residents,” he said.
Chamisa and Khupe have been embroiled in nasty fights for control of the opposition party since March when the Supreme Court, in a moot ruling, recognised the latter as the interim leader of the MDC-T.
Since then, Khupe has been on the rampage decimating Chamisa’s party structures, recalling his legislators and councillors and grabbing party offices.
MDC Alliance sources said the party settled for Mafume to avoid a recall by Khupe in the event she decides to continue with her purge on MDC Alliance councillors.
Clr Mafume was seconded to council by the People’s Democratic Party then led by Mr Tendai Biti, but was elected into council under the MDC-Alliance coalition banner.
Mr Mafume is a practising lawyer and was educated at the University of Zimbabwe.