Chaos at Town House as CCC councillors attempt to oust mayor Jacob Mafume


Power struggles and service delivery woes plague Harare City Council

In the midst of power struggles within the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)-led council, Harare mayor Jacob Mafume has made significant changes to the leadership of the local authority’s committees. The move aims to tackle the long-standing problems with service delivery that have plagued the city. Mafume, who recently became the third CCC councillor to assume the mayoral position since the August 2023 elections, has faced internal opposition, as some CCC councillors sought to oust him.

The recent tension culminated in an explosive full council meeting on Friday, where CCC’s ward 43 councillor, Blessing Duma, attempted to block the proceedings with the support of a few party colleagues. Duma’s discontent stemmed from his removal from the council’s influential audit committee, a move he vehemently opposed.

Mayor Mafume called for the special full council meeting to address the pressing issues of service delivery and waste collection. Additionally, he aimed to reconstitute some committees in response to the recalls initiated by CCC’s self-imposed secretary general, Sengezo Tshabangu, who had recalled several councillors. Mafume explained the purpose of the meeting, stating, “We discussed issues around service delivery and refuse collection. We changed some committees and reconstituted committees in light of the recalls.”

During the meeting, the water and health committees presented reports on the current water and cholera situation in the capital. However, Duma dismissed the meeting as illegal, claiming that committee reconstitution should only occur after general elections or with agreement reached in chambers.

Duma’s conduct drew criticism from Harare Residents Ratepayers Trust director, Precious Shumba, who highlighted Duma’s troubled history with the City of Harare. According to Shumba, Duma was a former employee in traffic enforcement who faced serious misconduct allegations and subsequent dismissal. Shumba expressed concern that Duma, as the chairperson of the audit committee, a crucial body responsible for establishing accountability systems within the council, was exhibiting unbecoming behaviour.

Reuben Akili, spokesperson for the Combined Harare Residents Association, stressed the importance of stability at Town House, the council’s headquarters. Akili emphasized that the ongoing political battles hindered service delivery, stating, “In as much as these people have their own political fights, they work against service delivery. What we want is service delivery—it has been a worrying trend to see these fights.”

As the power struggles and internal conflicts persist within Harare City Council, residents anxiously await a resolution that will prioritize their needs and address the pressing service delivery challenges. The reconstitution of committees and the pursuit of stability at Town House remain critical steps in restoring efficient governance and ensuring the well-being of the city’s inhabitants.

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