Bulawayo—The recall of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors by the party’s self-proclaimed interim secretary general, Sengezo Tshabangu, is disrupting municipal business in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second capital, says David Coltart who was elected major after the August 2023 elections.
Tshabangu recalled eight CCC Bulawayo city councillors and five members of parliament from the same party, claiming that the elected politicians had ceased to be members.
Following the recalls, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently ordered fresh polls in the affected wards, with the Nelson Chamisa-led CCC losing three of the eight council seats it had won in August.
The ruling Zanu PF party won in Ward 21 where songstress Sandra Ndebele-Sibindi defeated Simbarashe Dube in the by-elections, also bagging wards 1 and 24 in polls that suffered severe voter apathy.
Ndebele-Sibindi being sworn in
Bulawayo has 28 municipal wards and CCC still dominates council.
Speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of the new councillors, Coltart, who Tshabangu has so far spared, described the recalls as unnecessary and unfortunate.
“I have to say that this (recalling of councillors and MPs) has been an unfortunate and unprecedented chapter in this great city’s history. This (recall) process has been hugely disruptive to the running of the city,” said Coltart.
The former Primary and Secondary Education minister under the 2009-13 coalition government said the recalls had forced his council to change the deputy mayor and some heads of committees, in the process disturbing the smooth flow of municipal business.
“So, now we need to work together to address these challenges. This council must be marked by non- partisanship politics. We have two parties which have been elected today but both parties represent in their wards, all the citizens of our great city, irrespective of how they voted. We have serious issues facing our city.
“Water is neither Zanu PF nor CCC. It is needed by everyone and it is only through a collective approach that we can address the issues facing us,” said Coltart.
Bulawayo, like all the other cities, has experienced severe water cuts for years, with residents sometimes going for unbroken weeks without the precious commodity.
Coltart urged professionalism among Zanu PF councillors.
“Speaking specifically to Zanu PF councillors elected today, quite frankly, we need your assistance to speak to your superiors for them to listen to non-partisan issues relating to water which we all have to address urgently. So councillors, I look forward to working with you all in a non- partisan way that serves the best interest of all the people of this great city. We all have to work immediately,” he said.
He also implored the new councilors to shun corruption.
“We must together adopt zero tolerance to corruption. That is the policy of this council. If any councilor or any member of staff is found to be engaged in corruption, there will be a zero tolerance approach to that,” added Coltart.