New Harare Mayor faces backlash as Khupe plots mass recalls to paralyse council

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  • Sour Grapes: Mass recalls to open door for Zanu PF-led government to dissolve Harare City Council and appoint a commission which will run affairs of city until the 2023 elections.
  • MDC-T ready to let Zanu PF takeover city than let MDC Alliance rule

THE Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T are plotting to paralyse operations of the Harare City Council (HCC) following the shock defeat of its nominee, Luckson Mukunguma to MDC Alliance candidate Jacob Mafume in the Harare Mayoral elections on Thursday.

Mafume edged Mukunguma by 19 votes to 14 as councillors rose above the fear of recalls to vote the Harare lawyer into office.

There was one spoilt ballot when Harare City councillors met to choose Hebert Gomba’s successor.

Highly placed sources within the MDC-T told Zim Morning Post that the Khupe-led party was moving to dismantle HCC in what appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to the stunning defeat to MDC Alliance.

“We are faced with an impossible choice, either accept the MDC Alliance to continue using their influence in council to fund their operations which are targeted at defeating us, or to dismantle council, deprive it of a quorum and let a government run commission takeover,” an MDC-T official said.

Efforts to get a comment from MDC-T secretary for local governance Bernard Chiondegwa were fruitless.

At the time of reaching Chiondegwa for a comment on Friday morning, he advised Zim Morning Post to get back to him later as he was attending an MDC-T National Standing Committee meeting.

Further recalls open a window for the ministry of Local Government to dissolve the Harare City Council and appoint a commission which will run the affairs of the city until the 2023 elections.

The plot will likely be welcomed by the Zanu PF-led government who have been pointing to the continued cases of corruption within the HCC as a reason for Minister of Local Government, July Moyo to dissolve the MDC-led council and appoint a commission.

Observers say the establishment of a commission will serve the objectives and financial interests of Zanu PF further crippling the MDC Alliance which has thus far used HCC as a cash cow to fund its operations.

If plots by the MDC-T are anything to go by, newly installed Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume would serve the shortest tenure as Mayor in the history of the post.

The Harare Mayoral elections took place after the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T recalled Gomba and five councillors last week insisting they had ceased to be members of the MDC.

MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora said he derived the authority to recall the councillors basing on the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe judgement in SC 56/20.

On Thursday, the odds appeared heavily staked against Mafume with councillors risking recall to vote him into office.

Mafume’s nomination was riding on his affiliation to People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – an MDC Alliance key coalition partner.

Its standing prevents the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T from instituting recalling measures as they did with Gomba.

Mafume’s ascendancy to Harare Mayor provides Biti with an invaluable asset in the subtle factional wars obtaining in the MDC Alliance.

Harare has been led by MDC councils since the turn of the millennium.

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