By Never Kadungure | Nehanda Politics |
The Zanu PF regime accused by the opposition of interfering in local government affairs has with immediate effect suspended Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume, deputy mayor Luckson Mukunguma and four other councillors on allegations of gross incompetence and misconduct of duty.
The six are both facing criminal charges involving abuse of office. Mafume is in remand custody while the other five are out on bail. Early this month magistrate Bianca Makwande denied him bail on the basis that he was likely to interfere with witnesses but the opposition claim victimisation.
Allegations are that Mafume allocated residential stands to his sister Rotina Mafume and a secretary at his law firm Rutendo Muvuti without following due process.
This week opposition MDC Alliance deputy president Tendai Biti lashed out at the Zanu PF-led government claiming it was victimising Mafume through arrests and lengthy detentions as punishment for exposing the capture of local authorities by the ruling party.
“The mayor of Harare Jacob Mafume is a humble intelligent, jovial, decent comrade. Zanu PF has targeted him for exposing its capture of local authorities. The Mwonzora and Khupe cabal has been complicit in this agenda. For Christ’s sake, release him now,” Biti wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Mafume was arrested in November before being charged with unlawful parcelling of residential stands to his relatives sometime in March this year. He was however granted bail by the High Court on December 8 before being re-arrested barely a week later.
Mafume, who is also the ward 17 councillor, is facing bizarre fresh charges of attempting to bribe a state witness in his corruption case. He spent Christmas at the Harare Remand Prison with his fresh bail hearing set for this Monday 28 at the High Court.
Writing in his weekly Nehanda Radio column, Luke Tamborinyoka, Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance, laid out what he argued was “the crackdown on the MDC Alliance mayors and the contrived recalls of our councillors…” adding this was Zanu PF’ “desperate but well-calculated measures to systematically take over the running of local government.”
“The Zanu PF-run central government has usurped all municipal powers and is at the centre of the mischief and lack of prudent service delivery in all local authorities across the country. Elected councils cannot even buy a pen without the authority of central government.
“They cannot even buy water chemicals on their own to treat water for the residents they serve in their respective local authorities because the required foreign currency can only be provided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe while all procurement of the respective chemicals is done by the State Procurement Board, housed in the President’s Office,” Tamborinyoka wrote. Nehanda Radio