Harare residents say the suspension of local mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, who was ordered to go home Tuesday barely 24 hours after he was reinstated by acting Local Government Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, is an indication that the ruling Zanu PF party does not want the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai or any opposition party to run the city.
Professor Moyo wrote a letter to Manyenyeni indicating that he has been suspended once again for allegedly using his position as the mayor of Harare to block the auditing of two companies - Easipark and City Parking - as directed by the Auditor General following reports of corruption in the companies.
Manyenyeni confirmed receiving his letter of suspension and insisted that all his actions were above board.
But his party and local residents believe that this is being done to prevent the MDC-T from running the local authority. MDC-T secretary for Local Government, Eddie Cross, said the goings-on at Town House are now seriously affecting service delivery in the capital city.
Manyenyeni said he was still consulting his party and attorneys before making pronouncements on his next course of action. Some lawyers told Studio 7 by phone that the minister has a right to suspend a mayor in terms of the law but refused to comment further saying they were not privy to circumstances surrounding Manyenyeni’s suspension.
A Bulawayo judge recently nullified the suspension of Gweru councilors by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere saying he had no power to take such action against council officials. But another judge indicated in his ruling recently in Harare that the minister has the power to do so.
Former Harare City councilor for Mt. Pleasant, Warship Dumba, said Manyenyeni’s suspension was politically motivated.
And Harare resident, Yvonne Katsvamutima, said it was now clear that Zanu PF does not want to see the capital city being run by the opposition.
Manyenyeni had returned to work today after the government failed to set up an independent tribunal within 45 days as stipulated by law to hear his case following his suspension in April on allegations that he allowed the Harare City Council to employ James Mushore as the city’s town clerk without following proper procedures.
Professor Moyo reinstated him Monday before instructing the mayor to go home again Tuesday.