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CCC questions Kambarami’s recall

The recall of former Bulawayo Ward 3 councillor, Tinashe Kambarami, last week by the MDC-T has raised questions with the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party alleging the recall smirks of tribalism, which has been used as a smokescreen by some officials to hide corruption within the city council.

CCC claimed Kambarami would question council arrangements that he thought were unprocedural but to hide these critical issues, some councillors were used to spread a tribal narrative so residents ‘mistakenly think Kambarami is of Shona extraction and not local.’

Kambarami was recalled from Bulawayo City Council (BCC) last week by the MDC led by Douglas Mwonzora, stating he had “ceased to be a member of the party,” as he was openly supporting CCC led by Nelson Chamisa.

“Not only is Kambarami’s recall a continuation of the removal by Mwonzora of cadres who supported Chamisa at the rigged 2014 MDC-T Congress, Kambarami’s removal from council is motivated by tribalism where his rivals allege, he is Shona and are using that to cover corruption taking place within council,” claimed CCC’s interim Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza.

“In order to obscure these critical issues a few individuals have been roped in to centre-stage tribal issues so that the world mistakenly thinks that Kambarami is of Shona extraction and that being such is a crime. The truth of the matter is that Kambarami is not even Shona. Corruption and bad service delivery at BCC has nothing to do with one’s tribe because no one chooses their identity.”

Chirowodza said falsehoods about Kambarami were disseminated by “toxic lobbyists who called for his recall from BCC.”

“Kambarami is not Shona. And, even if it was, that would still be no justification to recall because no one chooses their tribe or language at birth,” he noted.

“It is assuring that the beleaguered Kambarami, who was born at Pelandaba Clinic in Bulawayo, now has to turn to an electorate that has remained steadfast in its support for his candidature and more so divorced from Mwonzora’s leadership.”

The former ward 3 councillor becomes the latest member to be recalled by Mwonzora for supporting Chamisa after the MDC-T leader was granted powers to recall members following a Supreme Court ruling in May 2020 that declared Chamisa’s leadership at MDC-T illegitimate and instructed the MDC party to go for an extraordinary congress through its 2014 structures.

Chirowodza said Kambarami’s recall puts to the fore the urgency and need for genuine CCC cadres to win control of BCC and turn around service delivery.

“To silence Kambarami’s catch-the-thief inquiry, a tiff informed by alleged tribal differences was blown out of proportion in order to smokescreen the real issues,” he cited and made reference to an altercation that went viral between Kambarami, Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube and Ward 4 councillor Silas Chigora in July 2019.

Kambarami, then deputy mayor, sought to suspend the town clerk, following allegations that Dube failed to manage Bulawayo’s water crisis, misappropriated council funds and abused his office by acquiring property in contravention to stipulated council procedures.

Chirowodza said Kambarami’s first altercation with Dube signalled that Bulawayo could do more for its residents than accept the harsh water-rationing regime.

“Silence by some city fathers can only be explained in terms of their cosy relationship with the BCC administration. This includes the opaque allocation, expenditure and failure to audit money reserved for ward development,” he claimed.

The provincial CCC spokesperson further claimed the “marriage with BCC administration has seen several councillors opposed to Kambarami benefit from leases of huge tracts of land, whose rentals are a pittance because councillors deliberately keep the rentals below market value.”

Personal interests are served instead, said Chirowodza, adding it was against expectations where councillors elected on a political party ticket should be in the forefront of challenging poor service delivery.

“Councillors should be in the forefront fighting on behalf of residents when BCC delivers poisoned water to residents. For example, it took incessant bad press for BCC mayor to issue a statement on poisoned water. That is not how it should be during a crisis,” said the CCC provincial spokesperson.

“The removal of Kambarami should therefore be seen in terms of his desire to improve service delivery and not the smokescreen or set tribal agenda of a few anarchists.”

But analysts said looking at how contested Kambarami’s position was at BCC ever since his election to his court battles, his political rivals had managed to ‘beat’ him.

“It would seem Kambarami’s opponents got him there because they have followed due process to make sure he is sidelined. Kambarami is not a councillor because the council acted on an instruction from the local government ministry, while the same ministry acted on advice from his (former) party,” said critical studies scholar, Khanyile Mlotshwa.

“Meanwhile, it makes sense for the MDC to recall him as long as he has ditched them.”

Political analyst Patrick Ndlovu also dismissed tribal motives in Kambarami’s recall, saying Mwonzora who signed his recall letter was of Shona extraction.

“It’s not the people or ward that recalled Kambarami but the president of the party, who said he was no longer a party member. Whatever is being said about Kambarami does not subtract that he was not part of the membership of the party he was elected under,” he said.

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