Thursday, 12 May 2016

KASUKUWERE TO DISBAND HRE COUNCIL

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) dominated Harare City Council (HCC) will be dissolved in the coming weeks to pave way for the appointment of a special commission led by current acting mayor, Chris Mbanga, the Financial Gazette can report.


Highly-placed ZANU-PF insiders revealed this week that combative Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is now working closely with Mbanga, was waiting for the MDC-T to recall the Highlands councillor before dissolving council and unleashing a commission sympathetic to the ruling ZANU-PF party to preside over the capital city’s affairs.

Mbanga has been a thorn in the MDC-T’s backside. Ever since his appointment as acting mayor last month, he has been complying with the Local Government Minister’s directives despite these flying in the face of positions communicated to council by the country’s main opposition party.


Last week, Mbanga sent town clerk James Mushore on unpaid forced leave in spite of an MDC-T directive instructing councillors to stand by the ex-banker.


Mushore’s appointment in April has become the source of serious intrusions by Kasukuwere into the running of the capital city — deep in the throes of a deterioration in service delivery.


Within two hours of his appointment, Kasukuwere rescinded the decision, alleging violation of the Urban Councils Act (UCA). The Act compels municipalities to consult the Local Government Board (LGB) when making senior appointments, although the new Constitution now gives them autonomy to make those decisions on their own.
Council has been adamant that Mushore’s appointment would not be reversed because it was constitutional. Kasukuwere responded by sending mayor Bernard Manyenyeni packing and in the process, transmitting clear signals to other councillors that he would not spare the axe if anyone stood in his way.

And last week, the city fathers had to trade their masks of bravado for a humble coat as they hurried to send Mushore on unpaid leave at the behest of Mbanga.
Mbanga has now attracted the wrath of the MDC-T top brass, which is contemplating to recall him.

The MDC-T Harare Province made the first step this week by recommending Mbanga’s recall from council. It is now up to the top echelons of the party to either endorse or decline the recommendation. Insiders say Mbanga will not survive a recall.
Mbanga, according to council insiders, is not losing any sleep over his possible recall as he would respond by joining ZANU-PF, sources said.

Council insiders said Mbanga has been assured by the Local Government Minister that when a commission is instituted, he would take over its chairmanship.
Asked for a comment, Kasukuwere had this to say: “We will cross the bridge when we get there. I cannot pre-empt what government will do at the moment. We handle each situation at the necessary time.”

Section 80 of the Urban Council’s Act empowers the minister to dissolve council and appoint a commission to act as council for an initial period of six months.
“The minister may appoint a commission to act as council if at any time there are no councillors or all councillors for a specific council area have been suspended or imprisoned or are otherwise unable to exercise their functions as councillors,” reads sub-section 1 of Section 80 of the Act.

Sources said the commission, which will operate at Kasukuwere’s mercy, is meant to pave way for the engagement of a new town clerk favoured by the ruling party.
Indications are that ZANU-PF has already identified current Bindura Municipality town clerk, Shangwa Mavesera, for the job, although he was not among the 140 people who applied for the post late last year.

Kasukuwere has, previously intimated that the job would go to anyone who is approved by the LGB, adding that “even if Mushore succeeds at the Local Government Board, he will be town clerk”.

 

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