The Movement for Democratic Change formation of former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday expelled its Mutare mayor and recalled his Gweru counterpart for allegedly defying party orders to back mayoral candidates in internal council polls.
The party also fired some of its councilors in Victoria Falls and Redcliff on the same allegations.
The MDC-T’s supreme decision-making body between congresses, the National Council, Friday met for the last time this year and resolved to fire its mayor for Mutare, Tatenda Nhemarare, and recalled Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi.
The opposition’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told a news conference after the meeting that the committee took the decision following wide consultations.
Nhemarare and Kombayi were voted into office ahead of their party’s preferred candidates.
Mwonzora said his party also resolved to fire some councilors in Victoria Falls and Redcliff for defying party directives and subverting the will of the electorate.
He said the councilors voted for Zanu-PF mayoral candidates in sharp contrast with the party position on its preferred candidates.
As a result, Zanu PF ended up winning the mayoral positions in the two towns despite the MDC-T having won majority council seats in those two municipalities.
Mwonzora said his party had evidence that the affected councilors were involved in a bribery scam that allegedly involved Zanu-PF resulting in the opposition losing in mayoral elections to the former revolutionary party.
Mwonzora said the committee’s move was well-timed because there were several seats that were now vacant.
He said by-elections in those seats are now due and should be concurrently held with those necessitated by the expulsion of his party’s councilors Friday.
Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo but the senior government official has in the past refused to dismiss MDC councilors that had been fired from their party.
However, Mwonzora said the minister has no power in terms of the country’s statutes to defy the MDC-T move saying it is the party that deployed its representatives in council that can be relieved of their duties.
The MDC-T national council also noted the partisan distribution of food aid and farming inputs and urged authorities to treat all Zimbabweans equally despite their different political persuasions.