By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance has retained control of the Harare City Council after Ward 9 councillor and party loyalist Stewart Mutizwa was Tuesday appointed acting mayor by acting Local Government Minister Jenfan Muswere.
This follows the recent suspension of incumbent city premier, Jacob Mafume who faces corruption charges.
Mutizwa beat Tichavona Mhetu of the rival MDC-T in a recent chamber election which was later overruled by Muswere.
The acting minister however went on to appoint Mutizwa as acting mayor on the strength of the city father’s popularity with fellow councillors.
“It has come to my attention that the meeting, which had been scheduled for the 14th January 2021, failed to convene as it lacked a quorum,” wrote Muswere in his letter of appointment on Mutizwa.
“It has also come to my attention that the initial meeting for a similar purpose, as directed by Honorable J. Moyo in his letter dated 24 December 2020, failed to acquire quorum on the scheduled day before 29th December.
“However, I am informed that you had been voted for the appointment as Acting Mayor by 11 out of 14 councillors who attended the scheduled meeting of the 29th December 2020.
“Therefore, in line with the Urban Councils Act, I hereby exercise the mandate of the minister to appoint an Acting Mayor by appointing you Stewart Mutizwa as Acting Mayor of Harare.”
His appointment comes after Mafume and his deputy, Luckson Mukunguma were both suspended by Local Government Minister July Moyo.
The two are facing corruption charges linked to the alleged allocation of residential stands to their relatives and friends. They are currently out on bail.
Responding to his appointment, Mutizwa said he would issue an official statement Thursday.
“I am yet to take up the position. Yes, the appointment is made but a process of council is yet to be done to formally receive and endorse as council,” he told NewZimbabwe.com Tuesday.
“Otherwise, I will be giving my statement Thursday after the process.”
Mutizwa becomes the third mayor to run the affairs of the capital city since the 2018 elections after Hebert Gomba and Mafume.