Councillors’ recall hampers service delivery  

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machakairet@dailynewsonsunday.co.zw

TARISAI MACHAKAIRE
Staff Writer

RESIDENTS associations and civil society organisations across the country have raised concern over the recalling of councillors by the MDC faction headed by Thokozani Khupe.
Since April when the Supreme Court upheld a previous High Court judgment that declared that Khupe was the legitimate MDC acting president, she has recalled several councillors perceived to be supportive of 2018 presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa.
The outcry by resident associations and civil society organisations comes in the wake of the recent recall of Harare mayor Hebert Gomba together with Hammy Madzingira (ward 10), Kudzai Kadzombe (ward 41), Gaudencia Marere (ward 32), Costa Mande (ward 24) and Happymore Gotora (ward 7).
The concerned associations include Combined Harare Residents Association, Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Community Water Alliance, Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance, Guruve Residents and Ratepayers Association, Ruwa Residents Association, Marondera Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Association, Mvurwi Residents Association and Kadoma Progressive Residents Association.
 “We are gravely concerned that the recalls have become a tool and strategy employed to decimate and overthrow political opponents within the factional fights, which further entrenches political polarisation and independence of thought. The recalls are a clear display of insatiable hunger for power at the expense of citizens’ will and interests.
“It is sad that the MDC has opted the route of sacrificing the residents and service provision at the altar of political expediency by removing elected local leadership. It has completely ignored the plight of residents in its thirst for power and using law fare to whip councillors out of accountability to the citizenry,” the resident associations said in a statement.
They urged political parties to refocus their energy on efforts to increase quality potable water for residents, regular refuse collection, transparency in administration of public funds, gendered approach to service delivery and  improved healthcare.
“The rampant recall of elected councillors is a direct attack on representative democracy and seeks to throw away residents to the periphery of local governance which has serious implications on both service delivery and answerability of officials to the electorate.
“Political parties must not act supreme over the voter; residents are the number one stakeholder in every political process and should be treated with respect.
“This move, which is a threat to local democracy, feeds into the machinations and grand plan to pave way for the appointment of Commissions to run the affairs of most urban local authorities in Zimbabwe,” the peeved associations said.
Apart from councillors, Khupe has also recalled 21 MDC Alliance legislators from Parliament. The MDC has been consumed by ructions ever since its much-loved founding father Morgan Tsvangirai died from colon cancer in February 2018.

The party’s infighting escalated after the Supreme Court’s judgment earlier this year which upheld last year’s ruling by the High Court that nullified Nelson Chamisa’s ascendancy to the leadership of the country’s biggest opposition party.

Both Chamisa and Khupe have been criticised for failing to heal their rift and focusing on the failures of Zanu PF — whose incompetent handling of the economy has stirred anger among long-suffering Zimbabweans.

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