The opposition Movement for Democratic Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa says the Harare City Council has been crippled by the government following the suspension of Mayor Jacob Mafume, his deputy and other councillors.
Reacting to yesterday’s suspension of Mafume, his deputy Luckson Mukunguma and councilor Anthony Shingadeya by Acting Local Government Minister Jenfan Muswere over claims that they violated some provisions of the Urban Councils Act, the party’s secretary for local government, Sesil Zvidzai, described the situation as “very concerning”, adding that Harare has “gone to the dogs”.
He said 24 out of 46 councillors have been recalled by the MDC-T, resulting in the collapse of all essential services.
Zvidzai said, “The Minister of Local Government lifted the suspension of mayor Mafume and deputy mayor Mukunguma and councilor Shingadeya only to resuspend them. The events of the past few months in the City of Harare has completely rendered council dysfunctional.
“A total of 24 councillors out of the 46 have been recalled and that means the committees cannot work effectively, the council cannot work effectively. Combined with this is the suspension of the Town Clerk and other directors. These operatives have been replaced by the minister of provincial affairs one Chidau and provincial coordinator a Mr. Muguti. Effectively, Harare now is being run by a commission. What is left is for this commission just to go full blown and begin to destroy the City of Harare.”
He said the social and political situation is chaotic in Harare due to government intervention in the council led by the opposition MDC Alliance.
“Evidence is there that services are continuing to spiral down as a result of these unnecessary recalls and suspensions, firings, disturbances of council processes. You know that they sent police to harass and arrest councilors in full flight of council meetings in the council chambers. So, this is the situation in Harare now and we all have to stand up and say this doesn’t work for us. And indeed you can see the clear evidence of dysfunctionality.
"You would take it as a joke that in the very inner vein of Harare in First Street unprecedentedly you are seeing people doing Pfumvudza, growing maize in First Street. These are the indicators of dysfunctionality, these are the indicators of absence of accountable government structure. So, this is the position. Sadly, Harare has gone to the dogs.”
Muswere was unreachable for comment as he was said to be attending meetings in Harare.