MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday summoned acting Harare mayor
Chris Mbanga, amid fears by the party the councillor appears willing
to take Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s instructions on
the ongoing dispute surrounding the appointment of a new town clerk.
The MDC-T was left in a quandary last week after Mbanga gave in to Kasukuwere’s demands to stop new town clerk James Mushore from reporting for work despite the party’s position to challenge mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s suspension on constitutional grounds.
Kasukuwere suspended Manyenyeni last week for refusing to heed his directive to stop Mushore from coming to work.
MDC-T local government secretary Eddie Cross confirmed that they were bewildered by Mbanga’s action, contrary to the party’s position that Kasukuwere’s directives were a legal nullity.
“Our decision to appoint Mushore is irreversible and currently Mbanga is meeting the party president to discuss the issue,” Cross said.
Cross also said MDC-T had rejected a Zanu PF proposal to settle the impasse outside the courts.
“They have approached us to stop the court action against Kasukuwere and have talks to settle the matter, but this has been scuttled by the minister’s insistence that Mushore should be stopped from coming to work,” he added.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting, but did not disclose the nature of the discussions.
“Tsvangirai meets party members every day and it’s true that he met with deputy mayor Mbanga,” Tamborinyoka said.
Tsvangirai’s former advisor Alex Magaisa yesterday publicly questioned Mbanga’s action on social media and how he was voted deputy mayor.
“Where is Mbanga getting the audacity to do what is patently unreasonable and against the principled position which the party or any of its councillors should take?” questioned Magaisa. “Does he have powerful backers within the party who are advising him that it’s okay or has he simply gone rogue?
“Did the MDC do any due diligence on this chap before they nominated him to be deputy mayor?”
Kasukuwere’s suspension of elected mayors, particularly from MDC-T controlled councils, is widely seen as a move by Zanu PF to gain control of urban areas through the back door.
Manyenyeni’s suspension follows Kasukuwere’s decision to suspend Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and his entire council on charges of financial impropriety.
The Gweru city fathers successfully challenged their suspension at the Bulawayo High Court, but Kasukuwere is defying the court order as he is yet to reinstate them. standard