Rifts emerge in Mutare council

Chabuka was elected mayor after the recall of Sophia Gwasira, deputy mayor Cloud Nengomasha and ward 4 councillor Nelson Mapuvire.

FACTIONAL fights are reportedly dividing Mutare City Council Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors after they allegedly boycotted a recent full council meeting.

Eleven CCC councillors on Tuesday boycotted the meeting after Itai Masaka, a senior party member, allegedly ordered them to protest the recent election of Simon Chabuka as the mayor.

Masaka yesterday denied the allegations.

“I am just a Manicaland provincial co-ordinator and I don’t do such politics. I am not aware of such allegations. There are people who are there just to tarnish my image and the party,” he said.

Chabuka was elected mayor after the recall of Sophia Gwasira, deputy mayor Cloud Nengomasha and ward 4 councillor Nelson Mapuvire.

Mutare City has 22 councillors.

In an interview with NewsDay last week, Chabuka said he understood that some councillors were receiving instruction to boycott the full council meeting.

“The meeting was then properly constituted and we proceeded and the councillors who snubbed last week’s special council meeting did not attend. Someone outside wants to control council,” he said.

Chabuka expressed concern over the boycott.

“Council is run by committees and their decisions are ratified by the full council through making recommendations for implementation by management. So now, if we do not attend these meetings, it then means there are no resolutions made and council is at standstill. Management does not make decisions outside council.

“What is called council are the councillors and if they boycott meetings, it means there is no council. Service delivery is affected as such,” Chabuka said.

Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister for Manicaland Misheck Mugadza said: “From the onset, we have been telling you to vote for credible candidates. These councillors do not have people at heart.

“It is not about agreeing or disagreeing with your fellow councillors at council, but service delivery and serving the people that voted for you. You cannot be seen allowing factional fights to interfere with development. This is a very clear sign of immaturity and lack of love for the people.”

United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust’s Edson Dube said residents were paying bills to council which was failing to honour its obligations by delivering services.

“Unfortunately, those entrusted then abscond. How will the city develop? Policies are passed through full council meetings, so if they don’t attend, then who will do it?” Dube said.

Mutare Informal Traders Association president Itai Kariparire said the boycott exposed the rift between the councillors who were now failing residents.

“The CCC factions cannot be left destroying the future of our beautiful city. The problem is that these councillors came from somewhere and they do not care about Mutare, but the fight has begun. I tell you with this behaviour by the councillors, war has started,” he said.

Masaka did not respond to questions sent to him on his WhatsApp number.

Efforts to call his number were in vain yesterday.

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