By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
CHINHOYI Municipality is facing an unprecedented dysfunctionality of its committees, which are defacto specialised portfolio think tanks, following the total disengagement of most Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors, who constitute the bulk of sitting ward and proportional representatives.
Of the total 20-member cohort in chambers, CCC has 15 councillors, Zanu PF four and one independent councillor.
CCC, led by Nelson Chamisa, made the decision to disengage Tuesday due to ongoing recalls of its parliamentary and council representatives across the country.
The boycott by CCC councillors comes as Chinhoyi faces debilitating water shortages never witnessed before, forcing women and girls to scavenge for the precious liquid during odd hours, thereby putting them at risk of being raped or murdered.
This Thursday, a Works and Planning Committee meeting, which superintends over the engineering department responsible for water treatment and distribution, had to be aborted after most CCC councillors seconded to the unit absconded after heeding Chamisa’s instruction to disengage from participating in council business.
The 8-member Works and Planning Committee chaired by Ward 1 Councillor, Good Sairos, also comprises Vice Chairman Ninion Verandeni, Busani Dube (Ward 13), David Malunga (Ward 8), Dyke Makumbi (Ward 12), deputy mayor Chipo Mlotshwa, Proportional Representative (PR) Councillors Dorcas Marunga (CCC) and Zanu PF’s Ruth Chikukwa.
Chinhoyi Municipality spokesperson, Tichaona Mlauzi confirmed only three councillors attended thereby forcing the cancellation of the Thursday meeting as it did not meet quorum.
“There were three members (present),” Mlauzi said without elaborating.
These include Mlotshwa and Makumbi both of CCC and Chikukwa of Zanu PF.
Chikukwa, a Zanu PF women’s quota councillor, also confirmed cancellation of the scheduled caucus.
“There was no quorum as only two CCC councillors, deputy mayor Mlotshwa and Makumbi, attended. There had to be at least four members of the Works and Planning Committee hence we had to call it off,” said Chikukwa.
When contacted for comment, Works and Planning Committee chairman, Sairos, said he was unaware of developments at Town House as he was out of Chinhoyi attending a funeral, the same excuse proffered by most councillors contacted by NewZimbabwe.com thereby exposing a rehearsed alibi.
Sources told this publication the boycott toll also saw the Human Resources and General Purpose Committee set for Thursday afternoon at Chinhoyi Town House being aborted after failing to get a quorum.
Chinhoyi Member of Parliament (MP), Leslie Mhangwa told residents that the Zanu PF government wanted to scuttle CCC efforts to fix service delivery challenges facing citizens.
“It’s unfortunate that statecraft has been deployed to divert us from our mandate. I was in Harare for Parliament and informally engaging possible sources of funding for our water woes.
“I will merely disengage from official Parliament business, but will still continue to engage, our eye is still on the ball. Hopefully the Speaker will get to his senses and review his partisan stance without us dragging the story,” he said.
Professor Stephen Chan, who is alleged Chamisa advisor, has said the opposition leader’s call for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) intervention based on the “disengagement” from Parliament and urban controlled councils is “a spur-of-the-moment reaction — understandable— but lacking strategic depth and plan”.
Chan’s comment after the CCC withdrew all party legislators and councillors from both parliament and councils in response to the shock ouster of 15 party MPs at the behest of self-styled party secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu.
CCC insists it has not withdrawn its members from Parliament and councils, but is rather disengaging from official activities in the respective institutions.
The party has given a 14-day deadline for the prompt reversal of recalls of its members, failure to do so will result in political and diplomatic actions, including reaching out to organisations like SADC, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).