It started with rumours that Shona Bulawayo city Councillors conspired to fire top Bulawayo Council Management. We then saw what looks like a petition signed by six Councillors mostly with Shona surnames asking for an urgent council meeting for the purpose of dealing with senior council disciplinary issues.
What I observed is that the Chronicle does not report in a balanced manner. The reportage by the Chronicle, as usual, is unbalanced on the matter. As I read the unfolding of this story from the Chronicle I concluded that the paper aimed to raise tribal animosity within the Bulawayo City Council. The Chronicle insinuates that the Shona Councillors are conspiring against a Ndebele Town clerk. To my surprise, I found that some Bulawayo residents associations and some other Regional Bulawayo political parties seem to have bought the Chronicle’s biased narration.
I do agree and believe that this time around a good number of Shona Councillors was elected into the Bulawayo Town Council and obviously these councillors represents the MDC party led by Nelson Chamisa. What I don’t know is the criteria used by Chamisa’s party to come out with such a big number of councillors of Shona origin to represent the party in Bulawayo city, a city which is believed to be in the midst of a Ndebele community. What was the selection criteria used by the MDC party and was the selection criteria fair or it was manipulated or biased on tribal grounds.I think a research need to be done in this area in order for all concerned people to come with an informed conclusion.
The author is of the view that the criticism of the Acting Mayor and Bulawayo councilors of Shona origin is not at all justified. Bulawayo’s councilors, Shona or Ndebele must be allowed to discharge their duties freely and that they must be protected against any form of discrimination as enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.Bulawayo can have a Shona Mayor and Harare can have a Ndebele Mayor. I don’t believe that Bulawayo is a Ndebele City but I believe that Bulawayo is home to all Zimbabweans of different tribal origins. If the Shona councillors were elected by the people of Bulawayo, who must stop them from discharging their duties.
I do believe that the road which the Chronicle is now trod-ding is a dangerous one. We cannot have a national newspaper reporting with tribal undertones. The Editor of the Chronicle has completely forgotten what happened in Rwanda where politicians used government media to speak against people of another tribe and a genocide followed. If the Ndebele people make an uprising and start killing Shona people in Bulawayo the Editor of the Chronicle will be held accountable.
Now that the Bulawayo town clerk was suspended yesterday, I want to advise him to comply with the suspension order and follow the disciplinary processes. I think this is the time for him to get legal assistance, let him look for competent lawyers like those from Calderwood and Brice and partners. There is a lawyer called JJ Moyo there, I believe he is the best labour lawyer in Bulawayo. He must not be fooled by Bulawayo pressure groups into believing that an Acting Mayor does not have powers to suspend a town clerk. Let him refer to Section 52 of the Urban Councils Act and read the law for himself. I advise the town clerk to gather his evidence well otherwise he will be jobless soon.
I got surprised to hear that the Mayor who is on leave had the audacity to comment on issues happening at the city council. He was quoted to have said that the deputy Mayor does not have powers to suspend the town clerk. Does the Mayor know the meaning of delegation? Is it professional for him to criticize his deputy before he gets a briefing from the one who is running the office in his absence? I now doubt the professional qualities of all those appointed to lead the city and no wonder Bulawayo residence do not have water yet dam levels are said to be at 90 %.
I believe that the city is being managed by incompetent councillors and management and that the pressure groups and residents associations and trusts are doing a de-service to their members. Instead of asking for service from council management they are now running with tribalism stories churned by a tribal Chronicle newspaper. I feel pity for Bulawayo residence who are losers in the whole drama.