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MDC mayoral fights hold city to ransom

by Staff reporter
17 Sep 2021 at 05:08hrs | Views
MDC-Alliance has simply turned Harare into a circus. Mayoral fights pitting councillors Jacob Mafume and Musarurwa Mutizwa, both claiming to be in charge of the city, have further exposed the shortcomings of the MDC-A. Those fortunate enough to have been around when the ruling party, Zanu-PF, was in charge of urban local authorities will attest to good governance.

The new millennium turned out to be a curse for Zimbabweans, specifically those in urban areas following the birth of an opposition party MDC, fronted by a group of selfish opportunists that were selling out their nation under the disguise for democracy. With Western countries having pumped a huge chunk of money to fund the regime change agenda, the MDC hoodwinked voters to win the majority of council seats in Harare.

Unknown to the urban voters is that this was the beginning of the road to misery characterised by water woes, illegal dump sites, and potholed roads, among others vices. As years passed by, the greed among the leaders of the opposition party manifested with serious fissures erupting among them, leadership crisis is now the order of the day.

The events that have been unfolding at the Town House over the past month call for a cleansing. Two opposition mayors both claim to be in charge of Harare City Council affairs over the past month. If the MDC-A leader Nelson Chamisa is a true man of God as he claims, he should have cleansed the spirit hovering around the council led by his host of councillors.

Harare City Council has failed to convene three consecutive full council meetings due to the squabbles between Councillors Mafume and Mutizwa, meaning no crucial decisions over service delivery have been made by the council over the past month.

Surprisingly, Chamisa has been mum about the chaos taking place at Town House, instead he is busy celebrating a neighbour's wedding in Zambia, newly-elected President Hakainde Hichilema. Unfortunately, if Chamisa truly cares about the suffering of Harare residents by now he should have summoned his councillors and resolved the mayoral squabbles in-house. That on its own shows that leadership is not his thing.

Instead, he prefers to see his councillors washing their dirty linen in public. Only time will tell, something bigger might be brewing behind the scenes.

After being suspended and upon his return, Mafume declared that he was taking over his position as mayor, but acting mayor Mutizwa remains adamant that he will only leave the post once he receives official communication.

Mutizwa also said every decision that the city can make under the leadership of Mafume is null and void as he still has pending criminal charges before the courts. As the circus was unfolding, at some point Mafume was occupying the mayoral office, while the mayoral vehicle and the driver were working for Mutizwa.

Surely, when the elephants fight, it is the grass that always suffers, like in this case where innocent ratepayers are bearing the brunt. In the midst of the chaos, service delivery has deteriorated to alarming levels with suburbs like Warren Park having gone for a month without refuse collection. Even in the Central Business District, the local authority has been failing to collect refuse at areas like Market Square bus terminus and at the corner of Fidel Castro Road (formerly Charter Road) and Rezende Street where there are mounds of trash.

The big question that remains is why should the mayoral fights hold the city to ransom? No sane person would dare entrust such a party to lead the nation when it has simply failed to run Harare. 2023 elections should be the opportune time for voters to resist being taken for a ride. A councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity told this publication that they were now in-between a hard surface and a rock due to the mayoral chaos.

"Permitting Mafume to chair the meetings without a written document stating that his suspension lapsed would be suicidal to us," said the councillor.

"Also, other councillors are opposed to Mutizwa chairing when Mafume insists on being back. The suspension and appointment of mayors is out of bounds for councillors, so for us, it is a catch-22 situation."

If the impasse continues, the local authority will take more time before it starts making key decisions for the development of the city. Such key decisions are supposed to be approved during a full council meeting, the city's highest decision making body.

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo last year suspended Mafume both as a mayor and a councillor pending the outcome of his criminal trials, including the allocation of council stands to his sister and law firm's secretary. The other case involved bribing a potential key witness.

Clr Mutizwa was appointed the city's acting mayor unanimously following the arrest, recall and suspension of successive mayors, including Herbert Gomba and his deputy Enock Mupamawonde. Their successors, Mafume and his deputy Luckson Mukunguma, were also arrested and suspended.

Source - the herald