Harare City Council Fails To Hold Meetings Amid Reports Of Divisions

Harare City Council was on Tuesday forced to suspend its full council meeting for the third time following confusion over the city’s mayor.

The meeting was supposed to take place online in the afternoon but failed after some councillors refused or failed to recognize councillor Jacob Mafume as the Mayor.

Mafume was suspended by Local Government Minister July Moyo last year pending the finalisation of his trial in a case he is accused of criminal abuse of office after he illegally allocated two stands to his relatives.

Mafume returned to work in early August arguing that his suspension has lapsed without any hearing and that entitles him to return to work.

However, Mafume’s return has plunged the local government authority into chaos as councillors and management are now divided between taking instructions from him or the acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa.

Open Council Harare was told that most councillors prefer Mafume but are siding with Mutizwa for fear of victimisation from MDC-T President Douglas Mwonzora. A councillor said:

We all want Mafume as the Mayor but it is difficult for us to side with him because Mwonzora’s axe will chop us.

MDC-T has since the 2020 Supreme Court ruling on the MDC leadership crisis recalled several legislators and councillors (including 45 Harare councillors) for siding with Nelson Chamisa.

However, councillor Mutizwa insists that Mafume needs to be acquitted for offences levelled against him for him to resume as Mayor. Said Mutizwa:

Mafume insisted on chairing the meeting and we cannot allow that until his name has been cleared.

Two weeks ago Council again failed to hold the meeting this time citing, “the need for councillors to study and comprehend the full council minutes.”

Mutizwa was appointed acting Mayor following the arrest and recall of successive mayors including Herbert Gomba and his deputy Enock Mupamawonde.

However, City of Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme said the full council failed after councillors couldn’t constitute a quorum.

More: Open Council Harare

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