The Chronicle

Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor 

MDC Alliance councillors have called for a special council meeting tomorrow as part of their plot to suspend Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube who has resisted their meddlesome conduct and overstepping in the local authority’s operations.

The councillors are said to be miffed especially by the Town Clerk’s refusal to let them interfere in the distribution of the $5 million ward retention fund, procurement processes and the employment of community groups and control of the subcommittee on allocation of stands and premises for development. 

The subcommittee on allocation of stands and premises for development is a subcommittee of the Finance and Development Committee charged with, among other things, the allocation of premises for commercial, industrial stands and leases of council properties. 

Mr Dube yesterday confirmed receiving notice of the meeting but said he was not aware that there were allegations against him. 

“First and foremost I’m not aware of the allegations levelled against me. What I can confirm is that the Mayor (clr Solomon Mguni) gave me the notification of a special council meeting on the conduct of senior management in the council,” said Mr Dube. 

He said if it is true that there were allegations against him, processes needed to be followed and he needed to be notified before the meeting of the things he was being accused of. 

Mr Dube said while he would not stand in the way of the meeting, the meeting came with no motion.

Efforts to get a comment from Clr Mguni were fruitless. 

In a memorandum to Mr Dube yesterday, Clr Mguni attached a petition signed by councillors Donaldson Mabuto (Ward 10), Felix Mhaka (Ward 5), Ernest Rafomoyo (Ward 21), Silas Chigora (Ward 4), Tawanda Ruzive (Ward 6) and Rodney Jele (Ward 23) calling for the special council meeting. 

In the petition they cited the Urban Councils Act Section 84 (3) which states that, “The Mayor may, at any time, and at the request in writing of not less than one third of the total membership of the council or of six councillors, which ever is the less, shall within 14 days of such a request, call a special meeting of the council”. 

The councillors stated, “We hereby request a special council meeting where we need to discuss the discipline and conduct of staff and management.” 

Informed sources on the matter said the council meeting was a decoy to clamp on Mr Dube. 

“There is a clique that wants the Town Clerk gone but their accusations against him are as a result of lack of understanding of council operations. They want to extend to the executive operations of the local authority which lies within the purview of the Town Clerk. 

“For example one of the councillors who signed that petition wanted to meddle in the procurement process of the council where councillors should not be involved. He went as far as notifying a bidder in a tender that their bid had not been successful before council made a final decision. It came as a shock when the bidder started complaining that he was overlooked before council actually announced the winner of the tender, ” said the source. 

“On the ward retention fund, they want direct access and control of the funds and control on the hiring of employees in the wards yet that is clearly the work of council departments. There is $5 million involved hence this campaign to control the funds.

“On the allocation of stands and premises for development, an investigation committee into allegations of corruption at the local authority in 2016 said councillors as policy makers should not involve themselves in the subcommittee. The local authority had a similar problem with the previous council and the issue has recurred.”

Affiliates of the anti Town clerk conspiracy leaders say that there is a bomb shell awaiting Mr Dube tomorrow. 

“Initially the plan was to leak the allegations in the media through a journalist friendly to the councillors to soil the Town Clerk that would then make it easy to suspend him. However, the plan changed and it was decided to call for the special council meeting to discuss the conduct of senior members but on the day, they plan to make direct accusations against the Town Clerk then afterwards hold a subsequent meeting to suspend him in a manner similar to what their colleagues did to the Gweru Town Clerk,” said the source. 

As news of the MDC Alliance plot filtered, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) condemned the self serving move by the councillors. “A faction of corrupt councillors in the BCC who appear to have vested interest in the procurement process of the council is now planning to get the BCC top management including the Town Clerk fired. BPRA is in possession of the evidence. These councillors want to influence the tender and procurement processes and are now accusing the management of being incompetent in implementing their resolutions,” said the organisation.

“Under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act councillors are not supposed to play a part in procurement processes. The last group of councillors was warned against putting pressure on the management and it seems once again the management has received another corrupt group.”