In what has been termed a “flawless” election on Thursday (6th September, 2018), afternoon at the Civic Centre in Mutare, returning councilor of ward 14 in Mutare Blessing Tandi was unanimously elected the next mayor of Mutare. Clr Kudakwashe Chisango was elected as his deputy. This happened on a day a total 19 councillors from the MDC Alliance were sworn in as councilors of the city for the next five years.
The MDC Alliance scooped all the 19 seats on offer to form an all opposition city council after they were duly elected in the just ended 31 July harmonized elections. Prior to the swearing in ceremony, word had already went out the Tandi was going to be the next councilor, despite reservations from some sections of the community who were vying for lawyer Clr Chabuka. However, it appeared the Alliance had done its homework and as earlier predicted Tandi was victorious and will take over the batton from out- going mayor Clr Tatenda Nhamarare.
Speaking in front of the packed gallery, Mutare District Administrator Mr Wilson Bore reiterated the importance of servant leadership since the elected members now had to represent the interests of all citizens. Said D.A. Wilson Bore, “ The task is hard and it demands servant leadership. You have a mammoth task to turn over the fortunes of this city. You now have to put aside partisan politics and be the leader of all citizens in your respective wards, advancing peoples’ interests first.”
Town clerk Mr Maligwa was the overseer during the swearing in ceremony which saw five female councilors taking the oath of allegiance much to the enthusiasm of female supporters present. Ward 2 female councilor Tsoro was the second to take the oath. Although she appeared to be overwhelmed by the occasion, she overcame her emotions and gave the women hope that she will be equal to the challenge.
A female supporter who refused to be named called upon stakeholders like Gender and Media Connect to help such female leaders by organizing workshops for them to get used to addressing the citizens to ensure that the citizens become more confident with female leaders. She said, “ Female leaders face a lot of pressure from the homes and within the communities. It is important for non governmental organizations like Gender and Media Connect to help groom current and future female leaders in order for the communities to develop more confidence in them.
However, expectations are very high for this council to deliver and incumbent mayor Clr Tandi who was unanimously elected will lead a council voted in by an expectant citizenry who have once again pinned their hopes on this new crop of leaders to deliver. Clr Tandi is an avid admirer of the community radio movement having initiated a ward listening club in his ward and actively taken part in community radio initiatives.