THE government has blocked an attempt by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Harare councillors to remove acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara from office by cancelling the pending election of a ne
w deputy mayor.
In a fresh directive to town house this week Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo said no elections should take place until investigations into the conduct of suspended executive mayor Elias Mudzuri had been finalised.
The tenure of deputy mayor Makwavarara, who has been acting mayor since Mudzuri’s suspension three months ago, expired at the end of last month and council was expected to choose a new deputy mayor this month.
Makwavarara has had a brush with party members over allegations that she was executing directives from Chombo in defiance of the party’s position to defy the minister. Makwavarara has denied allegations that she is pliant to the minister’s demands.
Party insiders say MDC councillors were expected to vote in a new deputy mayor together with chairpersons of standing committees this month.
A letter from Local Government permanent secretary Vincent Hungwe to Makwavarara on Tuesday directed the acting mayor to cancel the pending elections.
‘The minister writes to advise you that the on-going investigations by the committee of inquiry that he appointed to investigate the allegations preferred against suspended mayor Elias Mudzuri, touch and relate to the activities of the key standing and other committees of council,” Hungwe said.
“The minister therefore directs in terms of section 313 of the Urban Councils Act that all pending elections for the deputy mayor and chairpersons and members of all standing and other committees of council be suspended until the on-going investigation by the committee of inquiry has been concluded,” he said.
Hungwe also directed Makwavarara to ensure that all senior council employees remained in their current positions for the duration of the investigation.