THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has mooted withdrawing all its Harare councillors after 13 of them were dismissed by government last week. <
Councillors who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said the MDC national executive resolved to withdraw its councillors in April when Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo rendered the council ineffective by firing Harare’s first elected executive mayor Elias Mudzuri and barring the city from holding full council meetings.
“Councillors’ withdrawal decision was put on hold in the hope that they could fight on through defying Chombo’s directives,” one councillor said.
“The fight also included passing a vote of no confidence in Sekesai Makwavarara (acting mayor) and electing a new deputy mayor to regain control of Town House. Chombo made our mandate impossible by suspending and subsequently dismissing the councilllors when they voted out Makwavarara during a full council meeting.”
The councillors were suspended in May on allegations of disrupting council operations. Thirteen were dismissed last week.
The councillors said current developments at Town House made a mockery of the claim that an MDC council was running Harare. They said Chombo and governor Witness Mangwende had effectively taken over.
“Councillors no longer have any say in the affairs of the city so there is no need to remain there. Government’s newly-appointed James Kurasha-headed committee is already sitting in decision-making meetings,” another councillor said.
Chombo this week said the Kurasha committee would work in conjunction with the council and resident minister Magwende.
The councillors said there was no need to continue taking flak for poor service delivery when Zanu PF was responsible.
“Our mandate as elected leaders has been usurped, making it impossible for us to serve the people who elected us. The whole thing has degenerated into a dirty political game instead of a fight to improve the welfare of the urban electorate,” the councillor said.
Sources said the MDC was already working on the logistics of a withdrawal.
MDC Local Government secretary Jobert Mudzumwe said a committee would soon be set up to decide the way forward.
In total, 19 MDC councillors have been fired by Chombo since the opposition shocked Zanu PF out of its entrenched positions in urban areas.