HARARE – Residents have castigated the MDC Alliance for failing to educate the electorate on the method applied by the party in its process of selecting mayors.
Mfundo Mlilo, the director of Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), told the Daily News that although the MDC has a lawful mandate to select its choice of mayors, the party erred by not communicating its processes to the electorate.
This follows a furore that has erupted in some of the towns where the opposition leader Nelson Chamisa instructed appointed mayors to step down after failing to follow party protocol.
Media reports indicated that residents in Victoria Falls were against the MDC leadership’s decision to replace the resort town’s mayor, Somvelo Dhlamini with the party’s preferred candidate, Margaret Varley.
In September, Chamisa ordered Masvingo mayor Advocate Collins Maboke to step down, accusing him of supping with Zanu PF and disregarding a party directive to choose councillor Godfrey Mberikunashe as mayor.
Residents of Masvingo town threatened to stage protests against Chamisa’s decision to recall the mayor.
The MDC leader summoned Maboke and chided him for disregarding a party directive on the choice of Masvingo mayor before ordering him to step down in place of councillor Godfrey Mberikunashe.
Chitungwiza mayor Gift Tsverere and his deputy Jabulani Mtunzi have also consented to their recall by the MDC leadership.
Last week, the MDC gave Bulawayo deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami a seven-day ultimatum to step down from his position, indicating that he faced expulsion for defying a party directive on the election of the deputy mayor.
Last week, Chamisa explained his decision to de-stool appointed mayors, saying in some instances they were building “nicodemus and corrupt relations” with Zanu PF bigwigs for personal gains.
He said mayors are not elected by residents and his party has powers to recall individuals who do not perform in line with party protocol.
Yesterday, Mlilo said CHRA had to approach the MDC, seeking an explanation on the matter.
“It is our understanding that the MDC conducted a process in which they interviewed everyone who wanted to be a mayor. In that process, they selected their choice of mayors. After the process, new people started popping up, thereby violating the party protocol,” Mlilo said.
“However, we want to make it clear that the MDC did not make it clear to the constituencies as to how they were going to select the mayors.
They have done a bad job in terms of communicating their processes to the constituencies.
“They were supposed to communicate to the constituencies that the individuals they had selected for the mayoral positions were going to protect the interests of the party and that they would carry out the mandated duties in the local authorities in a required manner.”
Mlilo said there was nothing peculiar about the MDC selecting its choice of mayors.
“Even in South Africa, a political party that has won the elections has the right to select its choice of mayors. If anything goes wrong in a local authority, the political party gets the blame. As a party they have a say in selecting the mayors,” he said.