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Gweru Mayor Shocks Zimbabweans With “Refugee Collection” Speech

The Mayor of Gweru, Hamutendi Kombayi, recently instructed councillors to think outside the box in ensuring effective “refugee collection” in the city. The mayor, who apparently meant “refuse” instead of refugee, also addressed himself as the city’s municipal police “Commaner In Chief”.

Parts of the short speech seemed incoherent and it was increasingly charged. Kombayi was speaking to the councillors ahead of the province’s annual Agricultural Show which is currently underway. A part of his speech has circulated on social media in Zimbabwe.

Said Kombayi:

This coming week, in regards to refugee collection. May I make it aware to you that we are holding our Midlands Agricultural Show, as from the 18th to the 21st of August. And we are saying as the City of Progress we need for us all to unite, and bearing in mind that we have got an alert of the current outbreak of disease.

We need to carry out a robust cleanout cmpaign. I have already ordered that the roads department, the tipper and the front  end loader be assigned to the health department. And I expect that we have an implementation wherreby the management organises with residents through you councillors so that we have garbage collection.

Apa tiri ku cleaner. Management you have to think outside the box. Kana vanhu vane ma rori avo ekusenga mombe muchitadza kupinda muagreement, torai vafana vemadhongi muva laine muvabhadharise. Faindi iyoyo tiende door to door. Tichatotora madhongi tomalainisa madhongi iayayo. Tomalainisa nevafana ivavo.

And security, me as the Commander in Chief of the Gweru municipal police, I command chamber secretary to make sure that the police engages nevakomana vemadhongi kuti vafambe vachitengesa huni dzavo, and ivo vatiitirewo problem yedu yekusenga ma door to door bin evanhu. Vanhu vaburitse ma bin ari mudzimba. Let’s do this. Let us all put our heads together and make sure that we collect garbage. We collect refugee. We clean Gweru! Especially for the coming event in our town. I thank you.

Gweru is the third largest city in Zimbabwe. Kombayi who is an opposition councillor is a member of the MDC political party led by Douglas Mwonzora.

He is the son of late businessman, nationalist and opposition politician Patrick Kombayi. His father was also a Gweru mayor at some point.

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