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Put service delivery first — Mayor

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Mutare mayor Brian James said political forces pulling strings from behind the scenes were creating fissures between his councillors and council management.

The mayor was responding to questions from Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe Bishop Trevor Manhanga during the second annual public accountability conference held here yesterday.

“I think it’s because of the political hangover. The elected council is the policy makers and the management are there to advise on the policy direction and to implement the resolution and that is where the disconnection is,” said James.

“I don’t know how much dirty laundry to hang out, but it has to be said. If we are going to move forward we need to solve this problem.”

James said they would not sit and watch Mutare going down because of political considerations.

He called on all residents and stakeholders from different political persuasions to come together and work towards the development of the city.

“Both parties have to put service delivery first and not political considerations and string-pulling behind the scenes,” said James.

The mayor also touched on the contentious issue of land sales by the council, saying their powers had been usurped by the Local Government Ministry.

“Sometime last year through the ministry, my signing powers were taken away from me and given to the chamber secretary. Where for goodness’ sake are the checks and balances between the two arms of council in a situation like this?”

Town clerk Obert Muzawazi acknowledged there could be problems between his management team and councillors, but they were working together well.

“Yes, they may be perceived conflicts between council and management, but we have been getting praises for working together as a council,” said Muzawazi.

Some of the objectives of the conference were to assess the state of local governance in Mutare in relation to challenges, successes and failures and to discuss local governance capacity issues and bottlenecks in relation to service delivery.

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