OPPOSITION MDC-T top officials were reportedly divided over the turbulence caused by the recent suspension of Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni following his contentious appointment of banker James Mushore as city town clerk.
MDC-T sources told NewsDay that a section of the party’s leadership was sharply opposed to Christopher Mbanga’s taking over as acting mayor, accusing him of defying a party decision and taking orders from Local Government minister and Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Manyenyeni was suspended for “unprocedurally” appointing Mushore and defying Kasukuwere’s directive to rescind the appointment.
The MDC-T-dominated Harare City Council has accused Kasukuwere of politicising the matter and unjustly suspending Manyenyeni, although other party leaders including leader Morgan Tsvangirai were reportedly behind Mbanga.
Party insiders said Tsvangirai was rallying behind Mbanga to avoid a conflict with Kasukuwere, lest he would lose his government-issued Highlands mansion which still falls under the latter’s ministry.
Yesterday, it emerged Mbanga has now called for a full council meeting to follow Kasukuwere’s orders as the MDC-T‘s top brass comprising secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, spokesperson Obert Gutu, local government shadow minister Jameson Timba and Harare provincial chairperson Eric Murayi met to voice their concerns over Manyenyeni’s suspension.
A senior party official said so chaotic was the mater that some MDC-T officials were contemplating resigning.
Mwonzora confirmed the caucus meeting was held yesterday.
“We are meeting this afternoon (yesterday) to discuss the issue. A statement will be issued thereafter,” Mwonzora said.
Timba said there would be no council meeting, adding that they did not recognise Mbanga as acting mayor of the capital.
“There is no acting mayor in Harare because Manyenyeni is around. We are not going to recognise an unconstitutional position. There is not going to be a council meeting, at least to discuss the appointment of the town clerk, because that is a closed chapter and Mushore has the job,” Timba said, adding Mushore had not been stopped from reporting for duty.
“I expect Manyenyeni and Mushore to report for duty tomorrow (today).”
NewsDay understands that Mbanga reportedly rejected a briefing from Manyenyeni following his takeover last week and also rebuffed Mushore’s overtures for a meeting.
MDC-T officials added that Mbanga, however, entertained chamber secretary Josephine Ncube, apparently Kasukuwere’s choice of town clerk.
But, Mbanga yesterday said: “I do not want to talk about Mushore because these issues are before the courts.”
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka denied his boss was defending Mbanga’s appointment as acting mayor in order not to offend Kasukuwere.
“It is nonsense and utter rubbish. It is on record that Tsvangirai held a Press conference to defend his party’s candidates at Town House including mayor Manyenyeni. Tsvangirai was defending constitutionalism being mutilated by (President Robert) Mugabe’s surrogates,” Tamborinyoka said.