Mutare residents demand answers over Mayor’s suspension

Residents in Mutare have petitioned the MDC-T to explain the suspension of Mayor Brian James by the Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Brian James
Brian James

James was elected councilor for ward 12 of the eastern border city on an MDC-T ticket and was subsequently chosen as Mayor by the councilors following the 2008 harmonized elections.

But two weeks ago he was suspended by Chombo for alleged misconduct. The MDC-T described the suspension as ‘ridiculous’ and threatened to disregard Chombo’s action.

MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that James was suspended for fighting corruption and that over 20 000 people in Mutare have since signed a petition calling for his reinstatement.

“We are a people’s party and we have a majority in council and therefore obliged to explain the circumstances that led to suspension of the Mayor,” Muchauraya said.

He added: “We have scheduled a feedback meeting at Sakubva stadium this Saturday were everyone who resides in Mutare is welcome to attend.”

The MDC-T MP for Makoni South reiterated that James’suspension was an effort to allow corruption to rear its ugly head in the City.

“Like what our national spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said, the suspension of the Mayor is illegal and unreasonable. It deprives the people of Mutare of a mayor whose policies were people-centered,” he said.

The MDC-T says that that James was suspended by Chombo, a ZANU PF minister after he raised over 20 irregularities in the financial affairs of the city to the Town Clerk, Obert Muzawazi.

In a letter dated 10 October 2011, the Mayor wrote to the Town Clerk highlighting these irregularities and the need for investigations in order to make corrective measures to protect the city and its ratepayers.

The letter reads: “It has come to my attention and that of the councilors that there are a number of serious irregularities taking place in respect of the council’s financial affairs which may possibly be fraudulent and prejudicial to the city of Mutare.”

Muchauraya added that Chombo’s actions can be perceived as pre-emptive because he allegedly owns many properties in the City, many of which could have been corruptly purchased. SW Radio Africa

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