TEMPERS are flaring in the country’s second largest city with the opposition MDC which runs council accusing a local residents association of political posturing.
MDC provincial spokesperson Swithern Chiroodza said the Bulawayo Progressive Association (BPRA) had been hijacked by disgruntled former members of his party and the ruling Zanu PF.
“Some BPRA and Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) members who left the MDC as disgruntled members have hijacked BPRA. The reality is that Zanu PF is now using BRPA as its Trojan Horse, hence a new committee for residents with apolitical handlers is recommended,” said Chiroodza.
In the wake of the furor that followed a botched attempt to suspend Town Clerk Christopher Dube two weeks ago, BPRA has come out in support of a campaign to have the MDC dominated council elected only last year replaced by a government appointed commission.
The residents’ body chairperson Ambrose Sibindi at a recent meeting reiterated BPRA’s call for a commission.
“These past couple of weeks, we have witnessed the image of our beloved city being destroyed by people without the city at heart, our call right now is for the government to take bold steps in their investigations and appoint a commission to run the local authority,” said Sibindi.
Ironically, Sibindi a former MDC activist contested last year’s council elections in Ward 25 as a candidate for the Lucia Matibenga led People’s Democratic Party. He lost the council elections to the MDC.
Chiroodza accused Sibindi of trying to use the current instability in the city to settle political grudges.
Zapu’s Ward 3 losing council candidate, Nomalanga Dabengwa and untra-tribal Mthwakazi Restoration Movement (MRP) are also challenging the election of Deputy Mayor Tinashe Kambarami alleging that he was once convicted of theft.
Kambarami triggered the current political turmoil after moving to suspend Dube a move that was reversed by Mayor Solomon Mguni. The MDC was forced to intervene and order council to set up a team to investigate the circumstances around the attempted suspension and the charges thereof.
Government on the other hand has also send a fact-finding team to Bulawayo after the situation exploded into a tribal war amid demonstrations by a section of residents supporting Dube and accusing Kambarami of fronting a Shona agenda.
Chiroodza added: “These disgruntled former MDC members now want to spite the party by subverting the voters will through lobbying for a Zanu PF led ministerial commission to run Bulawayo. These former MDC members are unjustifiably calling for the dissolution of council in the hope of being appointed to serve in the commission.”
The MDC provincial spokesperson also accused BPRA and MRP members of harassing MDC councillors with impunity.
Five MDC councillors including two female councillors were recently attacked by a mob of hooligans suspected to be from MRP after they stormed council chambers protesting Dube’s short-lived.
Sibindi was Wednesday not reachable for comment.