Makwavarara row sucks in politburo

Augustine Mukaro



HARARE commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara’s future at Town House has sucked in Zanu PF’s supreme body, the politburo, as Local Gover

nment minister Ignatius Chombo and Zanu PF Harare province bare their knuckles over the matter.


Zanu PF secretary for Information Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday said the politburo would discuss with concerned parties their seemingly intractable differences to coordinate its position before it can issue a statement.


“We are going to talk to Harare province and understand their position, then coordinate our position on the matter,” Shamuyarira said. “Phone me on Monday and I will give you the party’s position.”


Apparently the mayoral issue has divided Zanu PF loyalists who are beginning to question Makwavarara’s party credentials, particularly for someone who abandoned it to join the opposition nearly six years ago.


Zanu PF Women’s League spokesperson, Nyasha Chikwinya, referred all questions about the party women’s position on the matter to Oppah Muchunguri who was said to be out of town for the rest of the week.


“It’s beyond me, I am too junior for that. Let the seniors like Muchinguri make comments,” Chikwinya said.


Rifts in Zanu PF have been deepening in recent weeks over the extension of the profligate Harare mayoress’ tenure, prompting Zanu PF Harare provincial executive to pass a vote of no confidence in her. Makwavarara’s tenure has been extended for the fourth time after it expired on June 9.


The vote put Chombo’s decision to extend Makwavarara’s tenure by another six months as head of the commission running the affairs of Harare under the spotlight.


The spectre of a divisive showdown pitting Chombo against members of the Zanu PF Harare province became inevitable forcing the politburo to intervene.


Zanu PF Harare province is seeking to oust Makwavarara, alleging that she had no capacity to lead the city.


In an interview with the Independent on Wednesday, Zanu PF Harare provincial spokesman, William Nhara, said Makwavarara was unsuitable to continue leading the city since she lacked the professional and leadership skills to deliver to ratepayers’ expectations.


“Service delivery situation is not improving, contrary to minister Chombo’s claims,” Nhara said.


“We want to be educated on where there are improvements. Maybe the minister is measuring the city’s improvements using growth-point standards.”


He alleges that Makwavara has a tendency of making arbitrary decisions without consulting other members of the commission.


“As stakeholders in Harare, we no longer have confidence in Makwavarara,” Nhara said. “We would not provide her with any support and we hope other stakeholders would join in.”


Nhara said Zanu PF Harare province has reached that position after realising that service delivery in the city was deteriorating under Makwavarara’s leadership.


He said the situation on the ground shows that basic service delivery is not being carried out, characterised with potholed roads, crumbling infrastructure not being fixed, uncollected refuse, erratic water supplies and burst sewage pipes becoming a perennial problem.


Nhara said Makwavarara was not suitable to spearhead the turnaround of fortunes at Town House because of her lack of professional qualifications.


“We want people who can turn around the fortunes of Harare, able to deliver and with necessary credentials,” Nhara said.


“There are certain prerequisites for each job, at least demonstrable deliverable even through experience. Makwavarara doesn’t have any professional qualifications. She has undermined and demeaned the position of the party in Harare and not being a member of the party herself cannot expect any further cooperation from the residents and the party in Harare.”


Nhara said Zanu PF Harare branch had communicated its position to the central government and were waiting for an explanation on Makwavarara’s fate.


Makwavarara was appointed chairperson of the Harare commission more than two years ago, after the government sacked the elected MDC mayor Elias Mudzuri.


She was elected to council on an MDC ticket and to deputy mayor before turning her back on the opposition to join Zanu PF. By virtue of her about-turn she should have started in the lower party ranks according to the ruling party regulations.

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