MDC has come out guns blazing defending Local Government minister July Moyo’s directive to stop elections of new mayors and committee chairpersons.
This comes after the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors last week vowed to take legal action challenging Moyo’s directive.
In a statement, MDC secretary for Local government Faith Musarurwa said the CCC was violating Local Government Act.
“The MDC is concerned and appalled by the CCC decision to remove some sitting mayors, deputy mayors, chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of committees in urban local authorities.”
“They want to replace them with their members who were recently elected. We find their actions clearly malicious, childish, unlawful and foolish” said Musarurwa.
“The Urban Councils Act is clear that these positions can only be open for election if there are vacancies. In this case there were no vacancies at all.
“Besides violating Section 114 of the Local Government Amendment Act Number 8 the CCC move also violates the national constitution” Added Musarurwa.
Musarurwa further questioned CCC’s actions, accusing them of intending to cause unnecessary fights within the councils.
“It is not clear what the CCC wants to achieve. “
“After the by-elections we congratulated the winners and called for good working relations in local authorities to ensure meaningful service delivery.”
“Through their aggression they clearly want the councils to engage in unnecessary infighting at the expense of the much needed service delivery.” Musarurwa said
Speaking at a press brief last week, suspended Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said the move by Moyo was ‘unconstitutional’.
“The minister quotes a section which speaks about the removal of mayors, deputy mayors and councillors but that is not what we have done. We have simply reconstituted committees in terms of section 96 of the Urban Councils Act,” said Mafume.
“We have a variety of platforms that we are going to use. We have parliamentarians; they are going to raise it during question time with the Ministry of Local Government.
“We are going to go to court on an urgent basis and we are hoping that the judiciary and every stakeholder that we are going to approach understands that they also live in these cities and that we have to comply with the law.”
Mafume said Moyo’s directive will not deter councillors and they are going to continue doing their job as normal.
“We are also going to instruct our councillors and leadership in the cities to continue working so that if they are punished they will be punished for working, they will reconstitute the leadership of council and committees. They will proceed with the meetings that are necessary for service delivery.
“If the minister of Local Government decides to suspend them for that, then so be it,” he said.
Mafume also said that the authorities have delayed swearing in of councillors which has a negative impact on service delivery.
“There are delays in the swearing in of our councillors in Kwekwe, Epworth, Chitungwiza and other local authorities.
“As a result, committees are failing to have meetings in those cities, the same as in Harare committees have not been able to deal with issues of service delivery. They are simply punishing the people for not voting for them.”
Mafume also alleged that the reason why the Local Government has tried to keep CCC councillors out of the system is that they fear that a number of suspicious deals are going to be reversed.
“When we have been out, mega deals that do not make sense for example the Pomona deal have been signed. As the landlord we are paying rent on the property that we have leased to a company.
“So they fear if we reconstitute the committees we will make resolutions that will reverse the number of deals,” he said.
Mafume also alleged that the Zanu PF councillors were ‘lining’ their pockets by making unnecessary trips around the world.