THE main opposition MDC-T yesterday said the circus happening at Harare’s Town House –which saw mayor Bernard Manyenyeni suspended by government hardly 24 hours after lifting an earlier debarment over reportedly frivolous accusations – was part of a wider Zanu PF plot to take over control of the capital city and parcel out land to ruling party members ahead of the 2018 elections.
The MDC-T warned that, if unstopped, Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government minister, would roll out similar smash-and-grab programmes in all councils under MDC-T control to destabilise the opposition party and enable Zanu PF to win back all urban seats.
“The latest suspension is just, but a manifestation of the evil and fascist machinations of the Zanu PF regime that is desperate to wrest control of Harare City Council from the popularly elected MDC council,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
He said the involvement of Kasukuwere and acting Local Government minister Jonathan Moyo – known Zanu PF electoral strategists – raised a stink.
“The MDC-T will never, ever give in to the factional machinations of these two misguided and misdirected Zanu PF factional warlords,” Gutu said.
Another top MDC-T official, who declined to be named, said: “Zanu PF’s decision to create a vacuum in Harare is to find a way of working with a malleable (deputy mayor Christopher) Mbanga in order to get rid of (suspended town clerk James) Mushore, who is a professional and incorruptible administrator.”
The MDC-T national executive member added: “The whole Zanu PF electoral agenda for 2018 is hinged around a second land reform based on the indiscriminate parcelling-out of urban land in a manner that flies in the face of good urban and regional planning.”
Kasukuwere has already pledged to dole out urban State land in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare to Zanu PF youths and members of the women’s league.
Manyenyeni was yesterday sent packing again, hardly a day after Moyo lifted an earlier suspension imposed by Kasukuwere. This time, the government accused Manyenyeni of failing to cause an audit of council’s business units.
The circus resulted in the cancellation of a full council meeting scheduled for the evening as MDC-T councillors boycotted in protest.
On Monday, Moyo gave Manyenyeni the nod to resume his duties following the mayor’s earlier suspension effected on March 20 this year.
Moyo claimed the decision had been informed by government’s failure to constitute an independent tribunal to try the mayor for “unilaterally” appointing Mushore as town clerk in contravention of sections of the Urban Councils Act.
However, before he settled down, Manyenyeni received another marching order for allegedly abetting corruption and plunder of public resources at Town House.
A crestfallen Manyenyeni could only say: “I have been suspended again for not carrying out the corruption audit for City Parking and Harare Sunshine Holdings. I am still consulting.”
He said the directive to audit council business units was directed to the entities’ respective directors.
“The directive was referred to the boards that run the companies, not the mayor. It’s highly likely my next suspension will be for Harare City Football Club coach Moses Chunga if he shouts at a fan,” Manyenyeni quipped.
Part of his suspension letter authored by Moyo read: “It has come to my attention that on July 27, 2015, you were advised in writing of various allegations of corruption at Easipark and City Parking and ordered by Hon S Kasukuwere in terms of section 316 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) to cause a forensic audit of the two entities and to provide a preliminary report to the minister on the same within six weeks of the engaging of the auditors.”
Moyo added that Manyenyeni had also rebuffed advice from Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in January this year to expand the internal audit to all the entities under Harare Sunshine Holdings (Private) Limited.
He described the mayor’s alleged inaction as “gross violation of duty and abuse of office on your part, bordering on incompetence and corruption to the detriment of the residents of the City of Harare”.
Moyo and Kasukuwere are key figures of a Zanu PF faction known as G40 and reportedly pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her husband President Robert Mugabe. The G40 group is reportedly seeking to hinge its campaign to control the ruling party on doling out pieces of land to the youths.
G40 is locked in a bitter succession struggle to take over from Mugabe with another faction reportedly led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa boasting support from the country’s war veterans. newsday