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MDC mayors ready for Chombo

Itai Dzamara

A CLASH is looming between Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and newly-elected mayors of towns and cities dominated by the opposition.

face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Sources in Chombo’s ministry revealed that the minister would be holding meetings with the mayors to give them guidelines on how he expects them to manage municipal affairs.

“The minister plans to hold meetings with all the newly-elected mayors, probably starting this weekend,” said a source. “The intention is to provide them with guidelines on how he expects councils to be run.”

MDC Local Government spokesman Gabriel Chaibva said this week that the mayors were ready to resist Chombo’s attempts to interfere in council affairs as he had done in Harare and Chegutu.

“We are equipping our mayors on how to handle Chombo,” said Chaibva. “They (the mayors) will attend the meetings called by Chombo, but will resist his attempts to incapacitate their council elections. It would be unfortunate if Chombo wants to meet the mayors outside the premises of the Urban Councils Act, and we would not accept that.”

Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri was in April suspended by Chombo on allegations of insubordination. Chombo’s interference in the running of Harare has hampered the turnaround strategy launched by Mudzuri and the predominantly MDC Harare City Council.

Chaibva also blames Chombo for the chaos that prevails in the Chegutu council, where an MDC mayor, Francis Dhlakama, has escaped several attempts on his life by the ruling party.

“The Chegutu case is a clear sign of what Zanu PF intends to do in towns and cities in order to prevent its collapse,” said Chaibva.

“The MDC mayor in Chegutu has been harassed, and actually survived attempts on his life in order to scare him into capitulating to Zanu PF’s intentions. In last month’s elections, Zanu PF prevented our candidates from reaching the nomination courts so that the Chegutu council is controlled by their councillors.”

Chaibva said the MDC would file an appeal to the Supreme Court next week against the ruling made by High Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo on the Chegutu nomination process.

Hlatshwayo dismissed an application by 11 members of the MDC challenging the nomination process in Chegutu where they were barred by a Zanu PF mob. Zanu PF subsequently won the 11 wards in Chegutu unopposed.

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