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2013 electoral albatross
April 20, 2012
Animal Planet offers valuable lessons on African dictators. Even
the largest of all predators, the lion, has its own pound-for-pound
adversary - the buffalo bull. I insist that benevolent dictator
Angola-s Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, 'obsolete- monarch
King Mswati III of Swaziland and Zimbabwe-s 'ageless-
Robert Mugabe will inevitably crumble under the wrath of 'Ubuntu
Spring- democratic Tsunami. Zimbabwe, though, faces a unique
challenge: desisting from vengeance while neutralising Mugabe-s
cunning systemic remnants of patronage long after his departure.
A perfect example
of this dichotomy is Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo who
basks in an aura of statutory infallibility, exploiting the Urban
Councils Act to unashamedly entrench ZANU-PF interests. His
repertoire of directives compels municipalities to accept so-called
special councillors, nullify council resolutions, suspend and dismiss
councillors. The biggest casualty of this rabidly partisan behaviour
is the Morgan Tsvangirai-controlled urban councils. Even if the
unintended consequence is that MDC-T concocts a perfect excuse for
failure, I have a slightly different testimony.
When we conjured
up the concept of 'democratic councils forum- with progressive
'mayoral galácticos- Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, Jessie
Majome, Elias Mudzuri, Zinti Mkandla, Alois Chaimiti, Sesel Zvidzai,
Misheck Shoko et al in the early 2000s, we wanted a mayoral 'think
tank- that creates an ideal model of local governance excellence.
We were out to prove that MDC could run national government as well
as it [had] run councils. The Chombo factor though prevalent, our
councils - especially Bulawayo remained top performers.
As of now this
legacy of MDC-T 'dominating urban councils- is an electoral
albatross around Tsvangirai-s neck. There are perceptions
- not without justification - that the spate of alleged
corruption in Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare are of MDC-T-s
own making. Many roads remain impassable as informal traders clutter
empty spaces. Harare mayor Much Masunda concedes that only 40 percent
of Harare residents have access to daily doses of portable water
never mind the 2,800
cases of typhoid reported in February. Mountains of uncollected
garbage and rivers of sewage are now 'acceptable- as
integral part of MDC-T modern-day local governance.
head in the Harare City Council, Charles Nyatsuro concedes that
ZANU-PF-s terror group Chipangano dominates some aspects of
MDC-T local authority responsibility. MP Piniel Denga claims his
constituency is controlled by the ZANU PF youths as alleged vigilantes
headed by ZANU-PF Harare South legislator Hubert Nyanhongo molest
citizens in Mbare and Highfields. Chitungwiza mayor Philemon Chipiyo
claims he was 'prevented- from disciplining his errant
team while Farai Nyandoro of Marondera has a bank full of excuses
why Marondera labours under a burden of ZANU-PF excess human baggage.
Mutare Mayor Brian James of Mutare is a reluctant recipient of Chombo-s
wrath, not to mention 'special councillors- appointed
to allegedly complement skills and competencies 'lacking-
in Bulawayo council.
There is consensus
that the predatory Chombo is not qualified to dispense governance
justice what with allegations of corruption himself, not least by
those that he seeks to persecute. Of late, the Denford Chirindo
headed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has been sniffing for
'property contraband- around Chombo-s empire.
Councillor Warship Dumba set off the alarms in an audit "which
fingered Chombo in alleged corrupt land deals."
claims of being a 'people-s person- are credible,
then he must apply his leverage to start a legitimate nationwide
anti-Chombo civic rebellion. MDC-T councillors themselves are obsessed
with material accumulation, to the extent that service delivery
is now bullet ten on their agenda. In order to win Election 2013,
Tsvangirai can only be saved by an 'Ubuntu Spring- type
popular uprising that deals a political mortal blow to ZANU-PF patronage.
Is he the Buffalo Bull?
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