By Andrew Kunambura
THE High Court may have ruled Local Government minister July Moyo offside on his decision to suspend Harare mayor Jacob Mafume, but the circus at Town House is far from over as government continues to recognise councillor Stewart Mutizwa as acting mayor.
Moyo has suspended Mafume several times over alleged abuse of office cases which he is answering to at the Harare Magistrates Court.
Mafume appealed the decision at the High Court and won last week.
He has since bounced back as mayor, but government still does not recognise him, in open defiance of the court order.
This has set the two of them on a serious tug-of-war, prompting reports the capital city now has two mayors.
A case in point is the situation that obtained on Thursday when they ended up performing mayoral duties simultaneously.
Mafume president over special council meeting at Town House while at the same time Mutizwa represented the local authority at the burial of national hero, retired lieutenant general Godfrey Chanakira in his capacity as acting mayor.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recognised Mutizwa as the official mayor in his speech at the national shrine.
“We would like to acknowledge the presence of Harare mayor Stewart Mutizwa,” Mnangagwa said.
Last week at a borehole commissioning event in Glen View, Mnangagwa described Mutizwa as his ‘friend’.
“Mutizwa is my friend; we talk on the phone a lot. Him and Dhlamini (Victoria Falls mayor) are from an opposition party but are my friends,” Mnangagwa said.
Local government minister July Moyo, who has suspended Mafume five times, has also refused to recognise the High Court judgement which lifted his suspension.
In his letter to Harare City council rubbishing the suspension of Pomona Waste Management deal, Moyo referred Mafume as a mere ‘councillor’.
Mafume said government was trying to sabotage him because he is opposed to the Pomona deal.
“The High Court lifted my suspension and confirmed me as the substantive mayor. I have been harassed by the central government because they know that I will not let a deal made in hell continue under my watch,” Mafume said.
Mutizwa refused to comment on the matter.
High Court judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire ruled that Mafume was the substantive Harare mayor, throwing away his systematic suspension by Moyo.