Gweru residents say the war between the two Movements for Democratic Change (MDC) parties led by Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora should take their fight out of Town house because it is now threatening to cripple service delivery in the City.
MDC-T councilors recently held a meeting at the townhouse to restate and re-affirm their loyalty to the Douglas Mwonzora led party, a move that has irked concerned stakeholders who believe that the townhouse has been turned into a factional war ground.
Before the whipping system claiming the scalp of a number of MDC members holding elective positions, the country witnessed a series of recalls and resultantly firing of councilors who would have fallen victim to MDC factional fights. However, for Gweru the 10 councilors who were recalled from the MDC Alliance party are still serving hence the respite for better things if the victimisation crusade is stopped for the sake of serving residents.
Speaking with this publication, stakeholders expressed dismay in the manner in which Zimbabweans, especially opposition parties are handling politics. Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) team leader agreed that service delivery will soon be compromised as councilors concentrate on saving their political careers at the expense of the well-being of the City. GRRA Executive Director, Cornilia Selipiwe said the warring parties should take their fight away from residents.
“The menace of continued recalls on elected leaders has a serious bearing on the ability of those left to deliver on their mandate as their pre-occupation now is to dance according to the expectations of their handlers and not residents. People need to have clarity of purpose and commitment to duty for them to deliver, but with the political axe hovering above them, they are now entangled in scheming and saving their bread from being snatched from their mouths by political vultures. Essentially, these people are now focusing more on saving their political careers than serving residents.
“They should change their political battle-field; they should not use our local authority as their battle field, but use the ballot box as the battle field. So they should take their fight somewhere else instead of bringing their fight to issues that are related to service delivery,” he said.
Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association (GUPRARDA) Executive Director, Pastor David Chikore weighed in by saying that recalls are crippling local authorities across the country and Gweru will not be an exception.
“Most urban Local Authorities across the country have been operating under a heavy cloud of uncertainty from the day that the Mwonzora led MDC-T faction commenced its recalls. Legislators and Councilors who continued pledging allegiance to the Chamisa led MDC-Alliance were recalled, resulting in the crippling of the function of the offices they were elected into. Service delivery; a core function for Councilors was heavily impacted and we don’t expect Gweru to be any different,” Pastor Chikore said.
He said speculations and suspicions among Gweru Councilors about who has defected to the Mwonzora faction and who would take over the reins after the dismissals has been a dark cloud hovering over Gweru council affairs for the greater part of the year 2021.
“The recent pledge of loyalty by 10 Councilors to the Mwonzora faction with the remaining 8 Councilors not yet openly declaring their allegiance is more likely to leave service delivery in limbo. Service delivery is more likely to be further compromised as individuals concentrate on shaping their political futures and service delivery being relegated to the periphery.
“Basing on reports from jurisdictions where recalls happened way ahead of us, service delivery is more likely to suffer as individuals flex their political muscles and jostle for vacant positions in council chambers, at the same time trying to impress and placate their new political principal.
“As residents, it remains our duty to be the watchdog and voice of the voiceless. We shall continue to speak truth to power and bring leaders to account as the residents deserve no less,” he said.
Pastor Chikore said despite the ongoing fighting, service delivery has been suffering with the Covid-19 national lockdown covering up for the performance deficits as most operations in the City were already on autopilot.
On the 2nd of September 2021 the Mwonzora led MDC-T held a meeting with Councilors from Gweru and Vungu at Gweru Townhouse, at the Mayor’s Parlor, which led to the subsequent suspension of 10 councilors who are members of the Chamisa led MDC-Alliance a day after, despite them remaining as councilors.
Eight Councilors’ fate remain in limbo after failing to attend the meeting with four openly declaring allegiance to the MDC-Alliance and face possible dismissal from council by the MDC-T, while the political allegiance of the other four remain conjectural and largely guess work.