HARARE – MDC councillors on Tuesday boycotted a full council meeting in solidarity with suspended Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.
According to council by-laws, a full council meeting can be held with a quorum of 17 councillors but on Tuesday there were only 16 city fathers present rendering the meeting meaningless.
Manyenyeni, an MDC councillor, was first suspended in April by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere for “unprocedurally” appointing ex-banker James Mushore as Harare’s town clerk.
He only returned to work on Monday, only to be suspended the following day.
The suspension letter that was written by acting Local Government minister Jonathan Moyo accused Manyenyeni of having failed to investigate allegations of corruption at Easipark, City Parking and other entities under Harare Sunshine Holdings Private Limited.
But in a rare display of unity, MDC councillors skipped the full council meeting, leaving their Zanu PF counterparts with nothing to do.
Acting chamber secretary Charles Kandemiri said the meeting would be held next week on a date to be advised.
Zanu PF councillors were, however, jubilant at Manyenyeni’s demise, with Rai Gwenambira loudly singing praises to the Local Government ministry for suspending the mayor.
She mocked Manyenyeni and the absent councillors saying they should man up and not take orders from another person.
“Kutotadza kuuya nekuti vaenda kunopihwa zvekuita. Varume rudzii vanoudzwa zvekuti nemumwe murume. Ngaande asadzoke (Manyenyeni),” she said.
Gwenambira went on to mock the suspended mayor saying before he had even settled into municipal business he was sent packing.
While Zanu PF councillors were celebrating, residents said they are being given a raw deal by an ever politicking governing party that is using its local government arm to deal with the opposition-controlled councils.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) said Manyenyeni is being politically victimised as his suspension has nothing to do with the laws of the land but the delayed alignment of local government laws to the Constitution.
HRT argues that since no independent tribunal was set up to remove Manyenyeni from office, he should be back at work.
“The Government has no right to abuse the law, and residents denounce such bully behaviour from the minister of Local Government who is abusing his political powers, instead of respecting the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He is not above the law, and should not be above the law,” the pressure group said in a statement.
In attendance at the council meeting were councillors Samuel Garachani, Clever Peter Manjoro, Anthony Shingadeya, Musatye Beadle Gwasira, Special Zuze, Peter Moyo, Tonderai Chakaredza, Naboth Munyengera, Martin Matinyanya, Job Mbadzi, Luckson Mangava, Christopher Mbanga,Gwenambira, Resias Masunda and Simon Chinyowa.