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Local Government Minister Appoints Harare Commissioners

Zimbabwe Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo on Friday announced several new members of the Harare Commission chaired by Sekesai Makwavarara, who was reappointed earlier this month to a fifth term amid criticism by local activists.

The new Harare Commission members include Killian Mupingo, a member of the board of the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company or ZUPCO, Civil Protection Unit Director Madzudzo Pawadyira, Sylvia Masango, a principal director in the office of Vice President Joyce Mujuru, and Sasha Jogi. One post remains to be filled, and Chombo said the candidate he had in mind for the slot is a lawyer.

Held over were Jameson Kurasha, Justin Chivavaya, Michael Mahachi and Alfred Tome. But Chombo axed Tendai Savanhu and Prisca Mupfumira though both of them are highly placed in the ruling ZANU-PF party. Callisto Matafare was removed too.

Political observers said said Chombo was punishing the two ZANU-PF officials for efforts by the ruling party's Harare office to remove Makwavarara.

Chombo urged the new commissioners to restore Harare's glory as Sunshine City.

But spokesman Precious Shumba of the Combined Harare Residents Association told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group intends to bear down on the commissioners in an effort to force new Harare elections.

Harare has been run by the commission under Makwavarara since 2004, when the central government removed then-mayor Elias Mudzuri, an opposition politician.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...