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MDC Alliance accuses Zanu PF of plot to indoctrinate council bosses

MDC Alliance has expressed ‘extreme’ concern over reports that Zanu PF is planning to take council staff members throughout the country for a partisan ideological orientation programme at the ruling party’s school of ideology.

An internal memorandum dated February 25, 2021, revealed that Zanu-PF intends to recruit traditional leaders, council bosses and employees for the party’s ideology indoctrination at the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology to help drum up support ahead of the 2023 general elections.

But MDC Alliance argues that Zimbabwe’s constitution clearly prohibits civil servants and senior employees of councils from being partisan.

“Council employees such as chief executive officers, town clerks and town secretaries are being forced to enrol in the partisan ideological training programme. It is evident that taking these functionaries through a political party school of ideology intends to cause these civil servants to pursue a partisan Zanu-PF agenda,” said MDC Alliance Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development, Sesel Zvidzai.

“These are circumstances where the law and basic principles of corporate governance require council employees to be impartial, professional and focused on service delivery not the pursuit of toxic politics in the execution of their duties.”

Zvidzai attributed this “improper” conflation of state and political party as one of the main reasons why President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government had no appetite to implement devolution, as enshrined in the constitution.

“This has hamstrung the operation of councils and led to poor service delivery. Council staff are now controlled by Zanu-PF which has exerted undue influence in matters of staff recruitment procurement, budgeting and service delivery,” he said.

This planned ideological training, said Zvizdai, was designed to brainwash and entrench the dysfunctional state of local authorities.

 “We call for an immediate end to the planned training and ideological orientation programme, the constitution must be observed in full -including through the respect of council staff’s duty to be impartial and professional as well as the urgent implementation of devolution so that local authorities can be properly equipped to carry out proper service delivery for the benefit of the people. This idea lies at the centre of our People’s Agenda and our Local Government Reform Agenda,” said the party’s Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development.

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