Blessings Chidakwa-Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has failed to convene a full council meeting for the second time in a week largely because of the chaos surrounding the mayors, although officials blamed it on a lack of quorum due to network connectivity.
There is confusion over who the mayor is between suspended councillor Jacob Mafume and councillor Musarurwa Mutizwa, who was acting mayor.
Upon his return, Mafume declared that he was taking over his position as mayor, but acting mayor Mutizwa is adamant that he will only leave the post once he received official communication.
Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said: “Today’s full council meeting failed to proceed because there was no quorum due to connectivity issues.
“A date for the rescheduled meeting will be announced in due course.”
Mafume also blamed a lack of quorum, adding that it was caused by management’s delays in buying data bundles.
“I am the one who actually postponed the meeting due to lack of a quorum due to the delays in the processing of data by management.
“The meeting has been rescheduled for next week to allow for the processing of data,” he said.
When another full council meeting failed to take place last week Tuesday, Mr Chideme said: “The meeting was postponed to allow for more time for councillors to study and comprehend the full council minutes.”
But a councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity said just like last week, the meeting failed to take off due to the ongoing fight for the mayor’s post.
“As councillors, we are between a hard surface and a rock due to the mayoral chaos. Permitting Mafume to chair the meeting without a written document stating that his suspension lapsed would be suicidal to us.
“Also other councillors are opposed to Mutizwa chairing when Mafume insists on being back. The suspension and appointment of mayors is out of bounds for councillors, so for us, it is a catch-22 situation,” he said.
Experts said if the impasse continues, the local authority will take more time before it starts making key decisions for the development of the city.
Such key decisions are supposed to be approved during a full council meeting, the city’s highest decision making body.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo last year suspended Mafume both as a mayor and a councillor pending the outcome of his criminal trials, including the allocation of council stands to his sister and law firm’s secretary.
The other case involved bribing a potential key witness.
Clr Mutizwa was appointed the city’s acting mayor unanimously following the arrest, recall and suspension of successive mayors, including Herbert Gomba and his deputy Enock Mupamawonde.
Their successors, Mafume and his deputy Luckson Mukunguma, were also arrested and suspended.