MDC hailed for expelling councillors

HARARE - Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has applauded the decision by MDC to expel 12 councillors implicated in corrupt activities describing it a “prudent decision” ahead of elections.

MDC disciplinary committee fired 12 councillors, including Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto and Gweru mayor Tedious Chimombe.

HRT director Precious Shumba said, though the move was long overdue, MDC  had done what a courageous political party would do to ensure its voters’ expectations are met.

“It is important to observe that elections are beckoning and their failure to address the scourge of corruption in the past three years will be measured against them in an electoral contest, so the MDC-T has taken a prudent political decision,” said Shumba.

“Residents want accountable leaders, who are transparent in the discharge of their public mandate,” he said.

MDC has become under severe criticism for “unethical conduct” by some of its representatives in various capacities.

However, Shumba said residents’ joy was with reservations considering that the expulsions were party-driven and could be objected by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

“If the minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development refuses to go along with the dismissal of the councillors from the MDC-T, it means that these dismissed councillors will remain as councillors,” said Shumba.

“But the difference is that they will not be representing the interests of the party that, in the first place, chose them to stand on party ticket in an electoral contest,” he said.

Chitungwiza Town Council had 24 councillors who were dismissed by the MDC leadership in 2009 but were reinstated by Chombo and continued working as councillors until he decided to fire them in January this year.

Currently urban councils are being run by town clerks and appointed commissions with special councillors appointed by Chombo.

According to Urban Council Act Section 29.15, the Local government minister is empowered to run the city council affairs and appointing a commission to run city councils’ affairs.

Shumba lamented the lack of adequate legislation to sanction the recalling of under-performing and corrupt councillors.

“In the absence of this legal provision, it remains difficult for citizens to recall or recommend the dismissal of incompetent, underperforming, and or corrupt elected councillors,” he said.

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