MDC-T divided over “defiant” members

The MDC-T’s highest decision-making body outside congress, the National Council, has failed to unanimously endorse a proposal to dismiss ten of its local councillors, including mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and his deputy, Artwell Matyorauta, for insubordination.

The provincial MDC-T chair, Lilian Timveous, said the party had recommended the councillors be dismissed for defying a party directive during the recent election. The party had wanted Charles Chikozho to be the new mayor.

“Several top officials in the party who received reports from the Midlands South NEC member and Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya argued that it was too harsh to completely expel the councillors from the party because at least they did not vote for a Zanu (PF) candidate for any of the two posts,” said a senior MDC-T official who attended the meeting in Harare.

“On the other hand, some officials argued that an example needed to be set for members who defy the party. Another group suggested suspensions ranging from two to five years but, at the end of the day, the matter was deferred and no resolution was made as no consensus could be found.”

Contacted for comment, Jameson Tsuro, the MDC-T’s acting organising Secretary, said: “ The NEC is still deliberating the matter of our recommendation to fire the defiant councillors. However, our position still stands and we are pushing for expulsion of the councillors. I do not see their being pardoned.”

Meanwhile, Kombayi has begun work, pledging to stamp out corruption in the city council. His late father, Patrick, was the first black mayor of Gweru.

Kombayi told The Zimbabwean of his plans to restore transparency to the council.

“We are just waiting for an induction exercise that we are supposed to go through a few days to come. After that we have all resolved to deliver our duties diligently and try as much as possible not to be distracted by party politics,” he said.

“The people of Gweru cannot have their problems put on hold because of politics. So the first step is going to be an audit that should pluck out all corrupt activities that we heard of before we were voted into office. We want everything to be put back in the line of transparency, accountability and improved service,” he said.

His statements come against a background of corruption and self-aggrandisement activities by the outgoing council, led by mayor Teddious Chimombe. Chimombe and several councillors were fired from the MDC-T after being involved in corrupt activities.

Mayor Kombayi stressed that the local council would work tirelessly to clean up the name of the city through good work.

“As the 12th council, we want to be for having ended the perennial water shortages in some suburbs and for having repaired our roads.”

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