Farai Kuvirimirwa Herald Reporter
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo says Government will continue working with councillors and mayors who have been expelled by MDC-T. He said this amid indications that MDC-T intends to dethrone newly-installed Gweru mayor Clr Hamutendi Kombayi and 10 councillors from that city and Zvishavane.
This comes shortly after Mutare Mayor Clr Tatenda Nhamarare and three councillors were expelled for rejecting the party’s choice and voting Clr Collin Mukwada (Zanu-PF) as deputy mayor.
“Last year we voted in a new constitution almost unanimously and it clearly stated that anybody who is going to run a local authority should have been elected by registered voters in that particular area of jurisdiction. You cannot then turn around and say I have lost my parliamentary seat in another area, now I want to become a mayor.
“That is not what the Constitution provides for and we are simply enforcing the constitution. I am glad that the City of Harare, Bulawayo and few other cities, the elected councillors chose one of their members as mayor and we are ready to work with them. The antics that those who voted for an elected Zanu-PF councillor to be mayor should be expelled, that is purely an MDC-T matter,” he said.
Minister Chombo said it was not proper for MDC-T to dictate to council when they are in chamber on who they should vote for.
He said while in chamber, councillors look at the qualities an individual possesses before electing him as mayor.
“They look at each other and analyse each other and determine who is going to provide the best leadership for that local authority. And they chose that particular person, after all they are all equal except that one does the chairing of the meetings. It is quite unfortunate . . . we will continue working with the councillors and mayors whether expelled or not,” he said.
Minister Chombo said urban local authorities should be guided in the next five years by the Urban Councils Act which he said is now further buttressed by the new Constitution.
MDC-T has also embarked on witch-hunts in Kwekwe, Redcliff and Victoria Falls as its embattled leaders seek to strengthen their grip by flushing out rebel councillors.
MDC-T Midlands South spokesperson Mr James Tsuro recently told The Herald that the move was the party’s national directive to investigate all councillors in the cities in which the councillors did not vote for the party’s preferred candidates.
Mr Tsuro said it was a directive from MDC-T’s secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti, who instructed them to conduct investigations to “avoid the 2008 scenario where councillors were not guided by the party in the selection of mayors”.