MDC leader Nelson Chamisa says his party is ready to wield the axe on errant councillors who are found to be corrupt, describing the squabbles in Bulawayo involving some councillors and council management as minor.
The youthful leader addressed a party rally in Lupane on Saturday and also had several engagements in Bulawayo on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with CITE, Chamisa said elected officials from his party had a mandate to deliver quality services to their electorate and anyone found to be engaging in corrupt activities will be immediately be fired.
“The vision and direction of the party is our councillors must be the best in performance, deportment and in integrity. That’s why for us any corrupt official will go. I had a meeting with residents associations this morning (Sunday) to say if you know of any councillors playing truant give us the information and evidence, they will pack their bags the next morning,” he said.
This comes after the party has been embroiled in controversy following the clash between some councillors and the Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube over allegations of corruption.
In response, Chamisa claimed the MDC had a strong stance against graft.
“Definitely, we don’t want impunity. There’s a legacy of impunity in this city and country, people do so certain things and get away with murder, this is metaphorical to say corruption must be dealt with but you need strong leadership and we have that strong stance,” said the party leader.
“I can assure you if you have evidence right now, give me, we will investigate and deal with the issue.”
Chamisa also dismissed calls for the government to appoint a commission to oversee the running the affairs of the city arguing that it was not backed by law.
“Who am I to doubt the wisdom of the residents, Bulawayo is for people of Bulawayo. The key thing is we don’t want interference, even this whole thing of wanting a commission, it’s not backed by the law, where is the mandate coming from. Instead, a tribunal must be set so on what basis will the government bring the commission?
“This is an internal process that can be remedied by the councillors and the mayor and residents of Bulawayo. Bulawayo must be left for Bulawayo residents. Hands off on Bulawayo and don’t interfere. You want to contaminate and destroy Bulawayo,” he said.
Chamisa also trashed reports that his party was imposing candidates in certain areas arguing that the councillors were voted into office by the people.
“These councillors were voted for in a general election by the residents of Bulawayo so if they were imposed how did they end up being councillors? Because if they were imposed residents were supposed to simply reject them and vote for Mthwakazi or other political parties. The fact that they voted settles the matter,” he quipped.
Despite some of the problems bedevilling the opposition party, Chamisa said they remained a party of choice in Matabeleland.
“People believe in us and depends on who you are listening to. There are those who would wish us dead but they failed, they formed their political parties, those parties did not thrive, it’s not because we are an alternative, we are the viable alternative,” he said.
“Yes we are a big organisation and not perfect, we have challenges that have to be confronted, which is what we are working on. So for anyone to say that candidates are imposed it is unfortunate because we don’t impose candidates. All candidates come though primary elections then we take them to the people through an election such as other political parties. I think there were more than 12 political parties in the elections in Bulawayo and we were the party of choice.”
The MDC leader acknowledged that residents had to express their displeasure but claimed the squabbles in the local authority were minor.
“Well they have to cry because they are not happy with certain things but it is a minor issue we will correct it,” he said.