LOCAL Government deputy minister Morris Sakabuya says elections for the city of Harare must be held soon after the expiry of the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission’s tenure of office on June 9.
“Government’s position is t
hat if elections are due then they must be held and it is not a Harare situation alone but in all other district councils where elections are due,” Sakabuya said.
Sakabuya said his ministry was not responsible for organising elections, saying such questions should be directed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on what plans they had in place for mayoral elections for Harare.
ZEC spokesperson, Utloile Silaigwana, was yet to respond to questions faxed to him on Wednesday.
Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo last year ruled out elections for Harare but hinted that they could be held in 2007.
Two years ago Chombo promised that Harare mayoral elections would be held in August 2006.
Harare has been run by a government-appointed commission since the dismissal on allegations of mismanagement and indiscipline of MDC executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri in April 2004.
Mudzuri’s victory in the first mayoral elections did not go down well with the ruling Zanu PF party, which felt under threat from the opposition.
Chombo also fired MDC mayors Misheck Shoko from Chitungwiza and Misheck Kagurabadza from Mutare.
Pressure has been mounting from residents for Chombo to fire the Makwavarara-led commission after disclosures of profligacy and incompetence.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has piled pressure on Chombo to hold democratic elections for councillors that have a mandate from city residents.
CHRA chairperson Mike Davies said they had already started to conscientise residents to boycott paying rates until their demands for elections have been met.
“We still stand by our demands for Harare to hold elections to appoint office bearers that have the mandate of the residents,” Davies said.
“The appointed commissions have been doing nothing to solve erratic water supplies, fix burst sewer and water pipes, fill potholes, collect refuse and attend to non-functioning street and traffic lights.”