Mutare Town Clerk denies corruption

The Town Clerk, Obert Muzawazi, has said the suspension of the Mayor, Brian James, was as a result of his political intransigence.

This follows James’ recent statement that his suspension was a well-orchestrated move by councillors and senior management intent upon blocking the auditing of the councils’ finances.

Muzawazi responded by saying James was an architect who had fallen from his own ladder.

Muzawazi said: “The suspension of James does not come as a surprise to fair minded Mutareans. The mayor has been public about the councillors and management he does not like, each time telling the public that

they were corrupt.”

Commenting on the issue of council’s refusal to undertake an audit Muzawazi said: “He is saying the council is refusing audits and our position as council is that we are refusing that the council books be audited by his friends and at the same time we would proceed with the auditing as soon as the resources are available.”

But, James is insisting that the council resolved that there was need for an audit conducted by external auditors.

“We all agreed that we should hire Ernst and Young to do the auditing. We also agreed that we should consult some external consultants for input in our budget processes. But nothing was done. Everything took a political shift as some elt that I was usurping my powers and did not feel comfortable with my style of leadership. They felt threatened that this would expose their underhand dealings,” explained James.

Muzawazi added that James hated him because he was a Zanu (PF) member.

“He (James) said he would proceed with running the council without advice from me as the town clerk. He has been showing a tendency that defied ministerial directives and he completely disregarded council’s operational procedures,” he said.

“He believes he is leading animals not people. The only people in his mind are the white ratepayers who have remained unelected since time immemorial. Our conviction at council is that we do not need such a mayor. We need a colleague who respects council and its staff and allow these to chart the way forward as he presides and not dictate. After all he is not the only educated man at council.”

He emphasized that the council needed to move forward with its mandate of service delivery and not to be “confused by the vestiges of the colonial regime which was dislodged 32 years ago.” But, the majority of residents have stood by James – twice demonstrating against councillors they accuse of having engineered his suspension as a way of blocking his bid to have the council’s books audited.

Again last week members from the Police Internal Security Intelligence disrupted a meeting organized by Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association where James was scheduled to be the guest speaker.

Commenting on the demonstrations Muzawazi said: “Efforts to cause unrest and demonstrations are completely uncalled for because the mayor’s suspension was prompted by an effort intended to benefit Mutare citizens.”

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