HARARE – The demonstration against Norton Independent MP Temba Mliswa was yesterday postponed to give the legislator time to mourn his deceased father.
Norton residents had scheduled a street protest against Mliswa arguing that his constant interference was affecting service delivery.
Residents Forum Norton chapter — organisers of the demo — said the protest has been moved to a later date on compassionate grounds.
Mliswa in May visited Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where he sought to have his 76-year-old father treated in a move he said was aimed at testing the health delivery system.
It turned out to be a torrid time for Mliswa and his father, who endured a lengthy period in a hospital queue. The father eventually passed on last weekend.
Yesterday’s demo was going to pile pressure on the bereaved Mliswa, who is currently in court with a local bank which is closing in on his assets over a $4,4 million debt.
The dispute only ruptured into the public domain after the maverick businessman-cum-politician was expelled from Zanu PF for being an accessory to former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s alleged attempts to remove President Robert Mugabe from power using unconstitutional means.
This comes after Norton mayoress has asked a judge for a restraining order to block the voluble MP from interfering with council business.
The town’s chairperson Precious Mufahore has said in court filings that Mliswa must be barred from getting anywhere near the town’s council offices.
In an interview with the Daily News, Mufahore said they were flabbergasted by the crusade against their council, and alleged the MP was pursuing a tribal agenda because the Norton municipal council was overwhelmingly dominated by office bearers from Masvingo, an allegation strenuously denied by Mliswa.
Residents Forum Norton chapter chairperson Samson Nduna said Mliswa — a fitness trainer — was harassing council employees and regularly threatened to assault them if he does not get his way.
“He has been ill-advising residents not to pay rates but as an MP, he should know that that will not be beneficial to anyone.
“If people do not pay for services, then how will they get their water and refuse collected,” Nduna said.
He said Mliswa was plunging the town into quandary.
Mliswa, who alleged last week that land barons had organised the protest against him, changed tack yesterday and accused the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of organising the demo.
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mliswa said the opposition party — which campaigned for him to secure the Norton National Assembly seat — was allegedly financing youths and bussing them to Norton.
He alleged the protestors were being paid by mayoress Mufahore, who rubbished the accusations. She alleged in turn that Mliswa’s disrespect for council authorities has seen him set up a parallel council run by bootlickers he handpicked from the community.
“The accusations of me paying demonstrators are lies fabricated by Mliswa. Why would I pay people? I do not have the financial muscle to fund protestors,” Mufahore said.
Mliswa said: “I am aware it is an MDC initiative. One of the councillors who was recalled by the party has even rubbished the protest. The MDC is financing everything and bussing youths from Harare to Norton. The whole thing is being coordinated by the party.”