Nqobile Tshili/ Leonard Ncube, Chronicle Reporters
MDC-T has recalled eight of the party’s 28 councillors in Bulawayo after they ceased to be members of the Dr Thokozani Khupe led party.
The MDC-T has recalled a number of councillors and MPs across the country claiming they no longer represent the interests of the party.
The opposition controls 28 wards in Bulawayo with Zanu-PF’s Cde Kidwell Mujuru of Ward 28 being the only councillor from the ruling party.
There is also a vacant seat in Bulawayo following the recent death of Ward 8 councillor Ronnian Mudara.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said as of last week, there were 23 local authority vacant seats and 16 in Parliament.
ZEC has also lifted the suspension of electoral activities paving the way for holding of by-elections
In a letter dated September 11, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo informed Bulawayo town clerk Mr Christopher Dube of the recalling of the eight.
“I wish to inform you that I am in receipt of a letter from the Movement of Democratic Change (T) stating that the following councillors have been expelled from the party,” reads Minister Moyo’s statement.
He said the fired councillors are Clayton Zana of Ward 19, Tinevimbo Maposa of Ward 21, Ernest Rafamoyo of Ward 20, Donald Mabuto of Ward 9, Tinashe Kambarami of Ward 3, Lilian Mlilo of Ward 12, Concilia Mlalazi of Ward 18 and Norman Hlabano of Ward 26.
Cllr Kambarami was awaiting a court determination for his return to council.
Minister Moyo directed Mr Dube to inform Zec about the vacant posts.
Mr Dube said the recalling of councillors will see remaining councillors being loaded with extra duties.
“Committees will have to be rearranged as most councillors were in three committees or two but now they will have to be in four committees. But we will work with what we have until there are by-elections in the country,” said Mr Dube.
One of the remaining councillors said some of his expelled colleagues were yesterday embarrassed when they tried to attend a council meeting.
“We were having a budget meeting as councillors and some of the recalled councillors showed up for it but were told that they were no longer councillors and should leave council chambers. I don’t know why they tried to attend the meeting as they were served with their expulsion notice on Monday. There is a lot of uncertainty among councillors on who will be fired next,” said the councillor.
MDC-T national spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni said the party was expelling councillors that were no longer part of the Dr Khupe-led opposition movement.
“We have done recalls province by province and we are recalling all those who are no longer MDC-T members. I don’t have the exact number of recalled members off hand but we’ve done it across the country,” said Mr Phugeni.
Meanwhile, in the MDC-T has also recalled two councillors in Victoria Falls.
Those recalled are Cllr Margret Varley (Ward 1) who was the MDC Alliance’s preferred candidate for the town’s mayoral position and Cllr Ephias Mambume (Ward 6), who backed the former.
Minister Moyo has since written to Victoria Falls town clerk Mr Ronnie Dube informing him of the recall.
The minister ordered Mr Dube to notify Zec that the two council seats were now vacant.
In his letter dated September 11, Minister Moyo said: “I wish to inform you that I am in receipt of a letter from the MDC-T stating that the following councillors have been expelled from the party. These are Margret Varley of Ward 1 and Ephias Mambume of Ward 6.
“In terms of Section 278(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as read with Section 129(1)(k), Wards 1 and 6 are now vacant. In terms of Section 121 of the Electoral Act, please inform the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.”
Mr Dube confirmed receiving the letter but could not be drawn into commenting further.
The two councillors could not be reached on their mobile phones.
Victoria Falls has 11 councillors meaning nine remain. A few months ago, the councillors were divided over election of a mayor as some sought to replace the incumbent Cllr Somveli Dlamini of Ward 9 on the instruction of the MDC-Alliance leadership which wanted Cllr Varley.
Cllr Dlamini was expelled on three occasions by the Mr Chamisa-led party which reinstated him twice and on the third time he was reinstated by Minister Moyo on the instruction of MDC-T leadership. — @nqotshili