Councillors struggle to hold nerves at inauguration

HARARE - Harare City councillors were spic and span on Monday, as they took oath of office.

Some male councillors wore brand new suits with designer tags still attached for all and sundry to see.

The gallery was full to the brim with party supporters, family, friends and general public.

Some were ululating, whistling and trying to influence voting patterns.

“Mayor, mayor, mayor,” or “deputy mayor,” they shouted during the swearing-in of preferred councillors.

While some eloquently and confidently read through their vows, others stumbled through it with hands visibly shaking.

“Ali, alie, elegance,” councillor Loveness Gomba stumbled through the oath.

Councillors Alisen Moffat, Theresa Manase and Matinyanya jumbled up their lines.

“I will disclose information,” they said instead of “I will not disclose any information.”

Bespectacled Rai Gwenyambira’s voice was barely audible as she recited the oath after chamber secretary Josephine Ncube.

Gwenyambira is a newcomer to council and replaces Evelyn Njiri — the only Zanu PF councillor Harare had during the 2008-2013 period.

Although she could not read her oath of office without assistance, she was the first councillor to nominate Beadle Gwasila, a Zanu PF councillor, as mayor for the capital.

Job Mbadzi did his final part of the oath in high-pitched Shona, “Mwari ndibatsirei (God help me)”.

After two years and four months of incarceration at Chikurubi Maximum Security Remand Prison, Tungamirai Madzokere took oath with 45 other councillors to serve Zimbabwe till 2018.

Bernard Manyenyeni emerged the mayor with Thomas Muzuva his deputy.

Alfred Tome, the provincial administrator, had to call the council gallery to order after the results were announced as Manyenyeni emerged mayor.

He was expected to move to the mayoral mansion at 14 214 Tomlinson Drive in the plush Gunhill surburb. He is poised to get a mayoral Mercedes Benz.

Former Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure, Glen View MP Paul Madzore, Youth Assembly information secretary Clifford Hlatshwayo, Youth Assembly president Solomon Madzore witnessed the inauguration of HCC councillors.

Out of the 46 councillors, 39 are MDC while seven are from Zanu PF. Only six councillors are female.

Tome, who presided over the swearing-in, gave a word of advice to the newly sworn in councillors: “Think of Harare as the capital city, Harare is Zimbabwe then Harare will become the sunshine city but if you dress and think of yourself, then you are lost. You are like a priest; you have come to the poor not to enrich yourselves.”

The council was inaugurated amid high expectation from residents to improve declining water provision, low refuse collections following the cancellation of debts and a struggling economy.


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