Inside Politics

Govt mulls commissions in cities


Government is contemplating appointing commissions to run the affairs of Harare and Bulawayo following the arrests and recalling of councillors and mayors of the country’s two major cities.

In Harare, which had 46 councillors, more than half of them were recalled by the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC T, a move which has paralysed operations of the city. 

Councillors were also alleged to be conniving with management to prejudice the council. Several senior council officials have been arrested in the past few months over land scam allegations.

They have since appeared in court on corruption charges.

The situation in Harare was exacerbated by the suspension of mayor, Jacob Mafume and his predecessor, Herbert Gomba, on corruption allegations.

They were implicated in alleged land scams and their cases are still pending at the court.

In Bulawayo, several councillors and the mayor were recalled by Khupe – paralysing the operations of the council.

In total, over 165 councillors have been recalled countrywide by Khupe, a move which has disrupted operations at the affected local authorities.

Given the political high stakes, the development might trigger the appointment of commissions to run the affairs of the country’s two biggest cities.

Local Government and Public Works Minister, July Moyo, confirmed the likelihood of appointing commissions in the two cities saying: “We all know the political problems that are happening in MDC factions one led by Nelson Chamisa and the other by (Thokozani) Khupe.

Most wards no longer have councillors and also we have the corruption charges against their mayors and we have to move in as government to correct the situation and we cannot rule out appointment of commissioners in the cities.”

Harare has seen the appointment of commissions in the past, under Sekesai Makwavarara, which was appointed in 2003 following the deposition of former mayor Elias Mudzuri.

Her commission was made up of Tendai Savanhu, Terence Hussein, Prisca Mupfumira, James Kurasha, Noel Muzuva and Michael Mahachi, among others.

The commission’s term of office expired in 2006 and was not renewed.

In 1999, government appointed the Elijah Chanakira Commission to replace the late Solomon Tavengwa council which was fired over allegations of maladministration, corruption and incompetence.

Analysts, who spoke to Business Times this week said the process to appoint commissions might take longer than expected as they are constitutional procedures that need to be followed.

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