NEWLY-APPOINTED Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Miriam Chikukwa of Zanu PF says the City of Harare should be run in line with the Zanu PF election manifesto and nothing else.
The provincial minister overseas the running of Harare Metropolitan Province under which the City of Harare falls.
The Harare City Council is, however, run by MDC-T party officials who won the majority 39 out of the 46 contested council seats in the capital.
The MDC-T runs major cities based on their local government electoral victory. These are Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo and Chitungwiza.
Both the mayor of the capital and his deputy are MDC-T officials and under normal circumstances, the city would be run according to policies put in place by the city fathers who, in this case, are MDC-T officials.
Chikukwa last Friday ordered MDC-T councillors to implement programmes outlined in the Zanu PF campaign manifesto.
Speaking at a dinner organised by the Zimbabwe Youth Council in her honour following her appointment, Chikukwa said Zanu PF programmes should carry the day since it is the ruling party.
“We only have one manifesto, one commander (President Robert Mugabe) and his manifesto is what we are going to use. Tell those MDC-T councillors that we have to work together and implement the manifesto of President Mugabe,” Chikukwa said to wild cheers from the gathering.
The MDC-T has, however, reacted angrily, saying
Chikukwa was an “illegal entity” who should not interfere in the running of the city whose councillors were voted for by the people.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa threw his weight behind Chikukwa, saying all local authorities had the obligation to implement Zanu PF’s election manifesto and should resign if they did not want to do so.
“Zanu PF after the elections are definitely the ruling party and what the ruling party wants in Zimbabwe must be done for the next five years because we were given the mandate to rule by the people. So Amai (Madam) Chikukwa was absolutely right to tell all councillors to implement Zanu PF’s manifesto. If you (councillors) object, resign forthwith.”
Contacted for comment, MDC-T Local Government shadow minister Sesel Zvidzai said Chikukwa had no mandate to interfere in local authorities’ activities.
“The mayor of Harare is responsible for the Metropolitan Province of Harare. This person (Chikukwa) who wakes up and dreams that we are operating with a Lancaster House Constitution is mistaken and off track,” Zvidzai said.
“She is just an illegal entity in as far as I am concerned, and mayors must just consult the people and move on with their projects,” Zvidzai said.
Mutasa, however, defended Chikukwa’s appointment, saying it had been done in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe.
“Mai Chikukwa is not an illegal appointee. The Constitution of Zimbabwe gives the President powers to appoint Ministers of State in every province,” he said.
But Zvidzai called on Mugabe to ensure that the Constitution was observed.
“As Zimbabweans, we must respect the philosophy of constitutionalism. President Mugabe should know that his duty is to protect the Constitution. The new Constitution has three levels of governance (Judiciary, Legislature, and the Executive) and each is entitled to work on its own initiatives,” he said.
In the previous government, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo fought endless wars with MDC-T-dominated municipalities as he sought to dictate terms on how they should operate.
He fired several MDC-T mayors and councillors for allegedly defying his orders, among other allegations.
Chombo is still the Local Government minister in charge of all local authorities.