MDC hailed for expelling councillors

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HARARE – Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has applauded the decision by
MDC to expel 12 councillors implicated in corrupt activities describing
it a “prudent decision” ahead of elections.

MDC disciplinary
committee fired 12 councillors, including Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel
Chiroto and Gweru mayor Tedious Chimombe.

HRT director Precious
Shumba said, though the move was long overdue, MDC  had done what a
courageous political party would do to ensure its voters’ expectations
are met.

“It is important to observe that elections are
beckoning and their failure to address the scourge of corruption in the
past three years will be measured against them in an electoral contest,
so the MDC-T has taken a prudent political decision,” said Shumba.

“Residents want accountable leaders, who are transparent in the discharge of their public mandate,” he said.

MDC has become under severe criticism for “unethical conduct” by some of its representatives in various capacities.

However,
Shumba said residents’ joy was with reservations considering that the
expulsions were party-driven and could be objected by Local Government
minister Ignatius Chombo.

“If the minister of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development refuses to go along with the dismissal of
the councillors from the MDC-T, it means that these dismissed
councillors will remain as councillors,” said Shumba.

“But the
difference is that they will not be representing the interests of the
party that, in the first place, chose them to stand on party ticket in
an electoral contest,” he said.

Chitungwiza Town Council had 24
councillors who were dismissed by the MDC leadership in 2009 but were
reinstated by Chombo and continued working as councillors until he
decided to fire them in January this year.

Currently urban councils are being run by town clerks and appointed commissions with special councillors appointed by Chombo.

According
to Urban Council Act Section 29.15, the Local government minister is
empowered to run the city council affairs and appointing a commission to
run city councils’ affairs.

Shumba lamented the lack of adequate legislation to sanction the recalling of under-performing and corrupt councillors.

“In
the absence of this legal provision, it remains difficult for citizens
to recall or recommend the dismissal of incompetent, underperforming,
and or corrupt elected councillors,” he said.

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