Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
FORMER Bulawayo Mayor Alderman Martin Moyo has said “illegal” caucus meetings held by councillors within the Bulawayo City Council disturbed the smooth flow of the local authority and further contributed to the divisions among the city fathers.
Ald Moyo lost in last month’s harmonised elections where he competed as an independent candidate for Ward Three after losing the MDC-T primary elections.
In an interview last Friday, he said while the MDC-T did not necessarily intervene in the running of the local authority, it was the caucus meetings chaired by some councillors who had an over bearing influence on other councillors that caused chaos in the running of the local authority.
He revealed that the caucus meetings that were at the time held during the dead of night were outside the known party and council caucus meetings, which were mostly held before a full council meeting.
“These caucus meetings were a problem, now that I am outside the party I can surely speak openly about them, a simple matter will be blown and you find councillors at each other’s throats all because of what was discussed at the caucus meetings.
“What surprised me is I was never invited to these caucus meetings, I would always ask why but no one would give me a definite answer. I only found out that there were a few councillors who had some influence on the rest of the councillors who would whip them to their own line of thinking thereby inhibiting their independence,” said Ald Moyo.
While the former mayor was reluctant in naming the councillors who chaired these caucus meetings he said there was a need for the new crop of councillors to avoid such meetings as they caused unnecessary divisions.
“What happens is there is a normal caucus meeting which is held before the full council meeting that is attended by all councillors minus staff.
“It is meant for councillors to have an understanding of issues to be discussed in the full council meeting and has its own caucus chairperson, of which in the last council it was Councillor Silas Chigora.
“However, because of the numerous other caucus you find some councillors bunked this main caucus then come the actual meeting, you find councillors taking a certain stance over even a simple matter, at the end of the day the council was more divided than united and this was not healthy at all for the local authority,” said Ald Moyo.
He said the challenge for the incoming mayor was to know how to effectively run the local authority and avoid divisive machinations.
“Unity is key and what the councillors should bear in mind is that Bulawayo comes first in all the decisions they make, it is not about Moyo or Ncube but about the City of Bulawayo.
“Whatever decisions these councillors will arrive at have a huge bearing on the city as a whole,” said Ald Moyo.
Ald Moyo’s former deputy, Mr Gift Banda was on a number of occasions accused of using his influence as the MDC-T provincial chairperson to play kingmaker among councillors, an accusation he however, denied.