via D-Day for mayors, council chairpersons | The Herald by Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter September 16, 2013
MAYORS and chairpersons for Zimbabwe’s 92 local authorities will be elected into office today as Government moves to foster good governance in local authorities.Initial resistance by MDC-T — which insisted that appointees could be chosen from non-councillors contrary to constitutional provisions — no longer stands in the way.
The High Court last Wednesday threw out an urgent chamber application in which MDC-T sought to compel the Government to allow non-councillors to be appointed mayors and chairpersons.
Justice Francis Bere dismissed the application by the opposition party for failure to prove that the case was urgent. This means MDC-T may proceed by way of filing a normal court application, which, according to legal experts, cannot stop the elections.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo last Friday emphasised that only elected councillors would be considered for the positions.
MDC-T had nominated former Justice and Legal Affairs deputy minister Obert Gutu and Mr Isaac Manyemba as nominees for mayors for Harare and Chitungwiza, respectively.
The party had also nominated Mr Mandla Nyathi as nominee for Bulawayo mayor. The three are not elected councillors. In light of Minister Chombo’s insistence that mayors come from elected councillors; and in the wake of some tongue-lashing from constitutional law experts, MDC-T made a climbdown and nominated Ward 2 councillor Mr Phillip Mutoti as Chitungwiza mayor nominee and a Ward 9 councillor Mr Ben Manyenyenye as Harare mayor nominee.
Kambuzuma councillor-elect Thomas Muzuva, who was nominated for the post of deputy mayor, said the party had agreed to vote for Mr Manyenyenye as he was the victor when they voted at their party.
Hatcliffe Ward 42 councillor-elect, Naboth Munyengera (Zanu PF) said although their party was outnumbered, they were going to vote for their candidate, adding that by rushing to elect mayors MDC-T had endorsed the harmonised elections.
“The fact that they are rushing to choose candidates whom they want to be mayors shows that they have admitted that the elections were free and fair.
“They should go and advise their leader accordingly and he should also advise his Western advisors in turn,” he said.
Minister Chombo last Friday said Government would only be guided by the Constitution and not what MDC-T wants when electing mayors.