MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has vowed to fight Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere over his decision to interfere in the running of the affairs of the opposition-led Harare City Council.
Tsvangirai told NewsDay Weekender on Wednesday that Kasukuwere was “playing politics” following the appointment of new Harare town clerk James Mushore.
“I am quite disgusted by Kasukuwere’s actions, but I can understand why he is doing this. He is a (Zanu PF) political commissar and he wants to politicise his overall government responsibilities over councils that are overseen by MDC,” he said.
On the back of gains made through the new Constitution, Tsvangirai said his MDC-T party would not stop, but continue to challenge Kasukuwere’s “unconstitutional actions” amid threats of protests over his suspension of Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and interference with Mushore’s appointment.
“It’s unconstitutional and if he continues to behave in that way, we will continue to go to court because his actions are illegal,” Tsvangirai said.
But Tsvangirai’s critics accuse him of being compromised due to his continued stay in a State-owned mansion, which he was allocated when he became Prime Minister during the days of the Government of National Unity.
The MDC–T leader, however, dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying his stay in the government house was not tied to the local authority and vowed to continue his support for the suspended Manyenyeni.
“Therefore, when the councillors take a position to defend their mayor, to defend their decisions or whatever role they have played, I think it’s a justifiable position. They have our full support because they are our council after all,” he said.
Tsvangirai also defended his former chief of staff and acting mayor, Christopher Mbanga.
“No, the deputy mayor has been quoted out of context. We have since discussed this and he has vehemently refuted that. So what else do people want to know? He (Mbanga) said he never did such an action (firing Mushore) and, in fact, if any such move was to be made, it is a council resolution, not an individual’s,” he said.
Mushore confirmed he had not been barred from coming to work by Mbanga, but was instead “requested” to take a voluntary leave until the matter was decided in the courts.
“He (Mbanga) did not bar me from coming to work, but he asked me to take voluntary leave until the court case has been finalised. I then I asked him to put it in writing, but he did not do that because for him to do that, he has to have a full council resolution,” Mushore said.
On Thursday, Mbanga caused a stir at the Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) meeting in Bulawayo when he allegedly said he did not recognise Mushore as town clerk.
Yesterday, Mushore said: “It was a bit confusing because how can he say he does not recognise me as town clerk when he is asking me to take voluntary leave? I am a bit confused by the goings-on.”
In response, Mbanga said he never said he did not recognise Mushore, but council would convene a special council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
“I never said I do not recognise him. That is bar talk. The reports of what happened at UCAZ are misleading and not true. The council position will be clear on Tuesday,” he said.