Commission not a solution for Bulawayo: Analysts

Calling for a commission to run Bulawayo would not solve the challenges that have seized the city council, instead other alternatives should be considered, analysts have said.

A section of residents called upon the government to set up a commission citing deep systemic corruption and tribal hegemony by some MDC councillors in running council affairs.

This followed squabbles that emanated at the Bulawayo City Council after Deputy Mayor, Tinashe Kambarami, sought to suspend town clerk, Christopher Dube over corruption allegations but the move did not go down well residents.

However, political analysts from Bulawayo argued it was premature to totally dissolve the city council and set up a commission, as it would fail to deal with local issues objectively.

Effie Ncube claimed the city council was capacitated enough to carry out investigations on all the allegations that were tossed around and deal with them effectively.

“A commission appointed by Zanu PF would not run the City of Bulawayo any better than Zanu PF is running the country. The same intolerance, corruption, incompetence and lawlessness you see nationally might find its way into the City Hall,” he said.

A better solution, the analyst noted would be to remove the corrupt councillors and order by-elections to replace them.

He said besides a commission would be reporting to government offices in Harare defeating the purposes of devolution.

“The danger of a commission is that it will be answerable to Harare and not to the people of Bulawayo. For that reason alone I don’t see how advantageous a commission will be for Bulawayo. We must follow due process, democratic principles and remove bad councillors,” he said.

Ncube emphasised there was no alternative to democracy and rule of law hence officials who do not abide by the constitution should be dismissed.

“Bad councillors must go. But before that we need a thorough auditing of books. The strength of evidence against whoever is guilty of a wrongdoing must be the only basis for further disciplinary action. So far there seems to be prima facie evidence for swift action,” he said.

Another local analyst, Thomas Sithole concurred with the above sentiments and advised all stakeholders to sit down, investigate the corruption allegations leveled against the town clerk.

“If these allegations are true then let due process take its course. People should not take the law into their own hands. We are all civilised enough to allow due pro to take its course,” he said.

Sithole urged the local authority to make use of the constitution, by-laws, labour laws and regulations to deal with the issue at hand.

He also shunned the use of tribalism that clouded issues that had to be addressed.

“Leave out the issue of tribalism out of this situation. When these councillors were voted into office, they were not elected on tribal grounds but were voted into office by those who were backing their political parties,” said Sithole.

“We have not matured beyond supporting an individual based on the political jacket they are wearing. That is a lesson we need to learn. We cannot just dissolve people who were put into offices through political processes like dissolving the council and going through the way of establishing a commission. However if processes lead to that way of dealing with issues then it would be inevitable.”

Meanwhile some residents convened at the Large City Hall Monday to discuss this issue on the invitation of Churches and Civil society Chairperson, Anglistone Sibanda, who supports the idea of a commission.

He claimed the commission initiative emanated from residents who feel the city is rocked by MDC factionalism, causing pandemonium with the council.

“The party leadership in heavily conflicted in the tender scandals and as such they are incapable of solving the crisis. The only legal option available in terms of Urban Councils Act is the dissolution of the council and the setting up of a commission to run the city, investigate corrupt council officials and clean the council pending by-elections after at least one year,” Sibanda said.

He said those residents opposed to the commission idea and feared the central government was carrying out a ‘coup’ on council should also realise that MDC itself had also carried out a ‘coup’ on them by imposing candidates.

“Other residents do feel MDC has failed to demonstrate its ability to live up to democratic values having carried out a coup within and imposing leaders upon Bulawayo, thereby thrashing the basic principles of democracy and creating mobocracy and thuggery in the guise of democracy,” Sibanda said.

After this meeting, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, one of the residents association in the city distanced themselves from Sibanda’s meeting.

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