Ian Makone: Has sobriety arrived at Town House?



Early days yet, but observers say the election of Ian Makone, a former top ally of the late ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai brings hope to a crime-ridden Harare City Council that has been yearning for a “mature” character to address a myriad of challenges the city faces.

Harare has been a hive of activity, albeit negatively, in the last years with the police becoming regular visitors to arrest corrupt city fathers and officials.

Crimes at the centre of arrests included land theft and fraud that saw names of former Mayors, Herbert Gomba and Jacob Mafume being thrown around while the duo was also thrown behind bars.

Makone failed in his 2018 attempt of becoming Mayor in what saw Gomba taking over from Bernard Manyenyeni.

Gomba’s reign was affected by a litany of criminal charges and arrests before Mafume took over.

Former Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who was replaced by Gomba in 2018 after serving one term said Makone was perfect for the job and only hoped he gets a conducive environment to deliver.

“In Ian Makone, we are getting a capable, mature and competent person,” Manyenyeni said.

“He is a good brand and all he needs is to have fundamentals to have the job done. He has corporate experience and Harare is a corporate entity on its own.”

Makone has over 40 years’ experience in the corporate sector and served as a senior executive at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

Another former Mayor and respected businessman Muchadeyi Masunda said Makone’s appointment was good for the city and should see the resuscitation of among other things, the Harare Mayor’s Cheer Fund plus 86 charitable entities which he used to support during his tenure.

In the political dynamics, Makone served as an advisor to Tsvangirai in the MDC-T where he also doubled as national elections director.

Currently, he also serves as the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) secretary for elections.

His wife, Theresa, served as a key official in Tsvangirai’s party and formed what was labelled a “kitchen cabinet” that closely advised Tsvangirai even against decisions of the party’s key organs including the national executive, national council and the standing committee.

Theresa was co-Minister of Home Affairs in the inclusive government.

Distinguished as one of the post-Independence professionals, Makone was General Manager of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and served as Chief Executive of Manica Group giving him vast experience in the corporate sector.

Speaking after he was sworn in as new Mayor for Harare, Makone said there was need to work on legislation that avoid clashes between the ministry of Local Government

“What we are saying is the Urban Councils Act and the Constitution of Zimbabwe should be read out together. If you read out the Urban Councils Act without reading out the Constitution of Zimbabwe, you will misinterpret it,” Makone said.

“The customization of the Urban Councils Act is not the job of the council but we will be happy to provide our input to the legislative assembly because that is where the law is changed which prevents us from conflicting amongst us as council and the ministry (of Local Government)”

On devolution, Makone said: “The principle of devolution is very clear that decisions must be made at the lowest possible level but now if you say we give you devolution and then take the power on the other hand it doesn’t work.”

Harare is faced with a number of challenges that include failure to provide basic services like refuse collection, rehabilitation of stadia, failure to provide basic housing among others that Makone is colliding with as he begins his new term at Town House.




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