Augustine Mukaro/Conrad Dube
THE dismissal of former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri earlier this year was planned by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Zanu PF officials at Town House well before inve
stigations into allegations of incompetence and corruption against the mayor were launched.
A copy of the transcript of a government-appointed probe team says the acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara and town clerk Nomutsa Chideya told the investigating team led by James Kurasha of the need to oust Mudzuri from the time he assumed office.
Makwavarara and Chideya stated in their submissions that they wanted Mudzuri fired from Town House because he was an obstacle to a Zanu PF takeover.
Makwavarara was at the time deputy mayor elected on an opposition MDC ticket.
Mudzuri won the 2002 mayoral election to become the first elected opposition mayor for the capital city but was suspended barely a year into office.
A transcript from the Kurasha Report, a copy of which is in the hands of the Independent, shows that Makwavarara and Chideya recommended Mudzuri’s dismissal alleging that he was difficult to work with.
Chombo appointed the Kurasha committee three months after suspending Mudzuri. The findings of the committee were never made public.
The nine-member committee was made up of Kurasha, Shingi Mutumbwa, Tendai Savanhu, Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, retired senior assistant commissioner Elisha Tavengwa, George Mlilo, Stephen Chakaipa, and Stephen Abel Hlatshwayo.
Giving evidence before the committee, Makwavarara said Mudzuri should be fired since he was a “blocking wall”.
“The mayor must be fired for the good of Harare,” Makwavarara said.
“If you say you have fired him, oh, yah, it will work. That is the only solution because he is the blocking stand. He is the blocking wall.”
Makwavarara also recommended the suspension and dismissal of some councillors to whip them into line.
Chideya told the committee that from the onset he was not comfortable working with Mudzuri and so he had encouraged him to resign soon after he was sworn in.
“I actually wanted him trapped and unfortunately the wheel of justice takes its time,” Chideya said.
“I mean I am aware that the mayor was not comfortable in our own family situation. I am actually married to a CIO operative, my wife works for the president’s office.”
Committee members in their deliberations made it clear that there was no way government could have reinstated Mudzuri.
“There is no way in government’s normal senses Mudzuri could be reinstated because it would throw council back further, in fact if he comes back after this, he will be worse off,” Mlilo said. “It would be a tyranny, he would really be a problem.”
Mlilo recommended that Mudzuri be incarcerated.
“I mean, from what you heard, especially with all misuse of public funds, he is fit to be jailed.”
Hlatshwayo, the transcript shows, was of the idea that the committee immediately recommend to Chombo to relieve Mudzuri of his duties.
“We don’t have to wait for October 31 which could be extended and we are still in August, two months down the line and the city is suffering and falling apart while we wait to submit a report,” the member said.