Bulawayo City Council has for years been considered one of the best run local authorities in Zimbabwe where corruption is regarded as anathema, but that reputation is under serious threat.
The simmering problems at the local authority came to the fore a fortnight ago when the deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami unsuccessfully tried to suspend the town clerk Christopher Dube.
According to correspondence between council and the Local Government ministry, the fight between management and councillors started as far back as 2014.
A clique of councillors that reportedly includes Kambarami, Donaldson Mabuto, Ernest Rafemoyo, Silas Chigora, Tawanda Ruzive and Rodney Jele, want Dube to be
fired after they clashed over matters relating to tenders and procurement by council.
The councillors allegedly want to influence certain tenders, including those for the parking management system in the city and allocation of land to
Such interference by councillors would be a violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act.
The government has since stepped in to investigate the allegations of corruption the councillors have levelled against the town clerk and the alleged interference by councillors.
MDC, which controls the Bulawayo City Council, also summoned the councillors to a meeting in Harare to discuss the problems.
However, the party has not come out to condemn the deplorable behaviour by the councillors led by Kambarami, which infuriated residents.
City mayor Solomon Mguni reacted swiftly by reversing Dube’s purported suspension and described the action taken by his deputy as unprocedural.
There is no doubt that council has failed to handle the situation in a professional manner.
There are procedures to be followed when disciplinary measures are being taken against an employee even if they are facing accusations of whatever kind.
We still expect the Local Government ministry and council to carry out the necessary investigations to ascertain whether the town clerk is indeed involved in
any criminal activities as alleged.
Kambarami should be given the platform to present any evidence of corruption he has against Dube so that remedial action is taken. That is how it should be.
There is no excuse for the thuggish behaviour and the councillors involved in the fracas that happened at the council chambers should be ashamed of themselves.
MDC also has an obligation to stop the rot at council by calling its deployees to order.
The party must act immediately to restore normalcy at council and ensure that its councillors stick to their core mandate of representing residents.