MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai says his “appointment” of mayors for major cities is above board and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo must stop politicking.
REPORT BY MOSES MATENGA
In a move seen by some observers as candidate imposition, Tsvangirai has nominated Obert Gutu for Harare mayor and Thomas Muzuva as his deputy, while in Chitungwiza he has nominated Isaac Manyemba for mayor.
The nominations were, according to the MDC-T, done through processes that involved provincial leaderships of the party, culminating in interviews for prospective candidates.
Chombo has threatened to block the nominations, arguing that the mayors should be chosen from among elected councillors.
The former Prime Minister’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai was following the law and his decision on mayors was reached after consultations with stakeholders, including councillors and residents.
“He is acting legally,” said Tamborinyoka yesterday. “He regards service delivery as key and must make sure it is prioritised. The MDC has interest in the calibre of these people, that’s why there were rigorous consultations on the matter so that we get the best people. He is not imposing. There was a rigorous consultation process and it’s legal.”
In a statement, the MDC-T said Chombo’s threats were ill-advised and in contravention of Section 272 (1) of the new Constitution.
“The new Constitution clearly stipulates that at the first sitting after every general election, a provincial council must elect a chairperson from a list of at least two qualified persons submitted by a political party which gained the highest number of National Assembly seats in the province,” reads part of the statement.
“The Zanu PF minister’s evil intentions to fight and destabilise the MDC-led councils are malicious and are bent on causing disharmony in the MDC local authorities’ leadership.
“It is obvious that since 2000, Chombo has been at the forefront of destabilising the MDC-led councils with a view to causing popular disaffection against the MDC leadership.”
Chombo, according to the party, wants to perpetuate urban dwellers’ suffering by creating conditions that would make it difficult for the MDC-T-led councils to deliver quality service to the ratepayers at all times.
“It is suspicious that Chombo’s threats come immediately after similar threats by the Zanu PF leader, Robert Mugabe, to punish Harare and Bulawayo residents for voting for the MDC,” the party said. Efforts to get Chombo’s comment were fruitless at the time of going to press last night