Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has for the second time in a week failed to convene a full council meeting due to on-going mayoral chaos, although the council cited lack of a quorum due to poor network connectivity while suspended mayor says this was due to lack of data bundles.
The confusion hovers around the return of suspended Mayor Jacob Mafume at town house claiming that his suspension ended while the acting Mayor Musarurwa Mutizwa insists that he is yet to get formal communication to that effect.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme cited poor network connectivity for the postponement of Tuesday’s meeting.
“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,” he said.
But suspended Mayor Mafume also acknowledged lack of a quorum but claimed that management had delayed in purchasing data bundles for the virtual meeting.
“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 for the virtual meeting,” 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.”
A councillor who spoke on condition of anonymity said just like what happened last week, the meeting failed to kick-start due to the on-going mayoral chaos.
“As councillors, we are in 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.
“Other councillors are opposed to Mutizwa chairing when Mafume insists on being back. The suspension and appointment of mayors is out of councillors’ bounds. For us, it is a catch 22 situation,” he said.
If the impasse continues, it means the local authority will likely take forever without making key city decisions which are supposed to be endorsed 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 for selling council stands to his sister and law firm’s secretary.
The other case involved bribing a potential key witness.
Cllr 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.