Fired councillors want audience with Tsvangirai

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Expelled Chitungwiza MDC councillors are seeking audience with party president Morgan Tsvangirai over the party’s “cruel and unconstitutional” decision to kick them out.

Mayor of Chitungwiza, Alderman Philemon Chipiyo said this week that he had asked the party’s Deputy Organising Secretary, Morgan Komichi to arrange a meeting with Tsvangirai.

“We (Chitungwiza councillors) feel we have been treated unfairly. Those found to be corrupt should face the music alone and not smear everyone,” said Chipiyo who was last week fired together with 23 other councillors for alleged corruption and insubordination.

The MDC leadership has, however, reacted angrily to the former MDC councillors’ complaint.

“The party has spoken,” said MDC Deputy Secretary-General Tapiwa Mashakada.

“The Chitungwiza expulsions are now water under the bridge. Those councillors are no longer members of the MDC so they have no right to talk about our party’s constitution. What procedure and whose constitution are they talking about?”

Speaking from Spain MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said that the councillors were trying to hide their crimes behind technical arguments.
“Those technical arguments won’t help them,” said Chamisa.

“We can’t wait for congress to fire you. But we will do so (fire) and then inform congress later. If they loved the party so much why did they put it into disrepute?”

Mashakada said: “We can’t wait for procedure while the looting continues. We had to protect public interests”.

Asked how the public would benefit since the expelled councillors remained in office at Chitungwiza and nothing had been done to recover whatever they are alleged to have stolen, Mashakada said the ball was now in the hands of the police.

The MDC last week did what Chamisa described as “a Caesarean” to save a city whose fathers had allegedly rejected “surgical treatment” in the form of outsider, Vincent Gwarazimba.

In an earlier interview with Chipiyo, soon after the expulsions last week the mayor who was in the company of Ward 21 councillor Booker Washington Usada, argued that only the party congress had the power to expel them.

Chipiyo said he was particularly hurt that efforts were being put to remove him from office at a time he had just sourced an unprecedented £10 million to resuscitate Chitungwiza’s water and sewer systems.

“They should have dealt with the corruption issue individually. As for the other issue of defiance, we knew nothing about the party directive to elect Gwaradzimba. The party has also not followed the constitutional procedure to expel us,” said Chipiyo.

Some of the councillors including Chipiyo and Usada were with the MDC at its formation in 1999 and they have all paid dearly for being opposition officials.

Chipiyo lost his son Archford, who was brutally murdered together with three other MDC youths by alleged Zanu PF militias who petrol bombed Chipiyo’s house a few days before the June 27 violent election.