MDC-T has accused Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere of abusing his position to further Zanu PF interests as the country’s major opposition party continues its fight to stop the minister’s alleged interference in councils under its control.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Kasukuwere has come under fire for suspending Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni for allegedly appointing former top banker James Mushore town clerk without the consent of the Local Government Board.
After Manyenyeni served his suspension, he was sent packing again for allegedly refusing to carry out the minister’s orders to audit some of the council’s owned business enterprises.
Kasukuwere has also raised the ire of MDC-T by investigating the Bulawayo and Gweru councils for alleged corruption.
MDC-T local government secretary Eddie Cross told journalists in Harare on Friday that the minister was pushing a political agenda, which he said was a task given to him by President Robert Mugabe.
“The appointment of the minister of Local Government as the political commissar of the Zanu PF party confirms the role he is playing as a key player who can use his position and his ministry and its considerable resources to establish control over all MDC-T-led councils,” Cross said.
“Mugabe appointed Kasukuwere as minister with a clear mandate to decimate MDC-T-dominated local councils and prepare the country’s urban settlements for takeover by the ruling party come 2018.”
Cross added: “The minister’s abuse of his powers has extended to continuous interference with council decisions and activities, long delays in the approval of council budgets and orders to rescind council decisions affecting basic issues and the general governance of council affairs”.
Cross said despite the country adopting a new Constitution in 2013 which now takes precedence over all existing legislation, Kasukuwere continued “to abuse his position and to defy the tenets of the Constitution by continuing the onslaught on urban councils”.
“The reasons for this onslaught are political as the minister seeks to ensure that elected councils do not deliver on their mandates and that the Zanu PF party is able to maintain its indirect control and interference in council affairs,” he said.
Manyenyeni, who also attended the press briefing, said Kasukuwere’s role as Zanu PF commissar left him compromised.
“The minister finds himself in a very difficult position. His position in Zanu PF as national commissar demands that he makes sure all MDC-T councils fail, but on the other hand, his ministerial position requires that he delivers to citizens,” he said.
“He has chosen to go with the party position at the expense of millions of our people.”
Cross said Kasukuwere had told Manyenyeni in private conversations that he would be suspended for 45 consecutive days until 2018.
He said the commission appointed to run Gweru City Council by Kasukuwere was more expensive than the legally constituted local authority. The commission spent $3 000 a day as the minister continued to ignore a High Court ruling that reinstated mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, he said.
“In flagrant violation of his obligations to implement and respect the Constitution and the decisions of the courts, the minister has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court,” Cross said.
The Bulawayo South legislator said Kasukuwere’s interference in Harare had brought the city to its knees.
“The MDC no longer recognises Christopher Mbanga as deputy mayor. He has gone rogue and there is a process underway to deal with him since his suspension,” Cross said.
He said Kasukuwere was also dolling out land on the outskirts of cities to create a new support base for Zanu PF.