All the MDC-T councillors have been kicked out of town house by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
The council has a workforce of 1 300. The three-member commission led by former Masvingo town clerk Tsunga Mhangami was appointed early this month to run the affairs of the council. The other commissioners are Mark Choga and Parenyi Chomunorwa.
Sources told The ZimbabweanÂ that they had been visiting work stations of council employees threatening that they face the axe. The commissioners said they would soon roll out a major retrenchment scheme and also â€œcut to sizeâ€ salaries of those who survived the exercise.
Insiders said though it was necessary to reduce the wage bill, they feared the exercise would be used to weed out MDC-T sympathisers. â€œThe workers are living in fear.Â After dismissal of the councillors, the low level workers believe the Zanu (PF)-aligned commission is thinking of pouncing on them because no one will come to their defence,â€ said one worker who requested anonymity.
â€œThe workers from Zanu (PF) structures are saying our epitaphs have already been written and we will all go the way our councillors did,â€ said another worker.
Kenneth Sithole, the MDC-Tâ€™s Gweru district chairman said the exercise was a ploy by Zanu (PF) to ensure they get total control of the city after successive election losses. â€œWe are simply sliding back to the 2008 era where everyone was plunged into abject poverty by the Mugabe regime,â€ he said.
But Mhangami said there would not be any political purge of workers. â€œWe have a huge wage bill yet the revenue that is coming in is far less than what is paid to employees. We have to work on alternative ways to raise revenue as well as how to deal with the huge workforce,â€ he said.
A fortnight ago, Shurugwi council laid off over 50 workers, whom the MDC-T confirmed were all its supporters.
MDC-T sympathisers at the local authority face loss of their jobs following revelations by the commission running the affairs of the city that it intends to implement major reforms.