The Sunday News
THE story in Bulawayo in recent weeks has been the unending water shedding, as council works on its water infrastructure, but that story, which touches on people’s lives and the socio-economic fabric of the city, was soon reduced to a mere footnote by power gymnastics at the council chambers.
And no one saw it coming. A whole acting mayor allegedly teaming up with fellow councillors to forcibly kick the town clerk out of office without following due procedure! It reads like a script from a comic movie.
Our sister paper, Chronicle, reported on Friday that deputy Mayor, Clr Tinashe Kambarami, and Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora allegedly forcefully ejected Bulawayo City Council Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, from his office after he refused to take a letter “suspending” him from duty.
Clr Kambarami, who was the acting mayor in the absence of Clr Solomon Mguni who was in South Africa, accompanied by Clr Chigora, were said to be recording the proceedings as they “pushed” Mr Dube out of his office at the City Hall after he told them that their actions neither had substance nor legal basis.
They then called for backup in the form of councillors Tawanda Ruzive, Arnold Batirai and Felix Mhaka before Mr Dube left the office which they proceeded to lock up and insert a key blocker.
Furthermore, efforts by the Chamber Secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou to reason with the councillors that their actions were a flagrant violation of laid down procedures, yielded nothing.
We find the acts of violence and disregard for procedure from people who are supposed to be city fathers and role models completely out of order.
The merits and demerits of the piece of paper they intended to hand over to the town clerk are neither here nor there, it is the manner in which they went about their business that embarrasses even their own supporters and enemies alike.
Council offices are the nerve centre of the city.
The lives of the people of Bulawayo are decided upon in those offices and as such, residents expect people they voted into office to carry themselves around in a respectful and civilised manner.
Residents expect orderly conduct and professional exchange of ideas, no matter how different those views might be.
Even the town clerk, no matter feeling offended, is expected to deal with issues in a polite manner as well.
“It’s true they came and I refused to accept their (suspension) letter so officially I continue with my duties as town clerk.
When they tried to hand me the letter, I refused and told them it had no legal basis and they became violent and started pushing me out of my office.
I left when they called for backup of their fellow councillors and they locked my office and put a key blocker.”
Nonetheless, the alleged violent behaviour by the councillors is consistent with what has been happening at their political party, MDC
Alliance, where violent clashes have been witnessed among members across the country.
Even those who do not subscribe to their ethos have been subjected to violence, with MDC-T leader Dr Thokozani Khupe a case in point.
It is also interesting to note that city mayor, Clr Mguni dismissed Clr Kambarami’s actions as a non-event and said Mr Dube was still in charge of the city.