Victoria Falls Councillors Accuse Minister July Moyo Of Meddling

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By Matebeleland North Correspondent

VICTORIA FALLS councillors have accused Local Government Minister July Moyo of interfering with the local authority’s day to day running thereby causing disharmony among the city fathers.

There was a near fallout between the mayor Somvelo Dlamini and Ward 7 councillor Prince Thuso Moyo who accused the city premier of using decisions from “kangaroo meetings” to run the authority.

Dlamini had to tell Moyo to “at least respect the office of the mayor” if at all he could not respect him as an individual and deputy mayor Patricia Mwale had to intervene.

Some councillors blamed the mayor for making decisions based on phone call instructions purportedly from minister Moyo in contrast to the dictates of local governance where every resolution should be written down.

Verbal decisions that are used to override council resolutions have reportedly caused confusion and infighting that has been rocking council.

Speaking during a full council meeting, councillors accused Moyo of stopping the municipality over the phone from selling stands.

The issue was fuelled by an announcement in the boardroom that Minister Moyo had written to council informing them about his imminent visit to the local authority to address the raging issue of budget which residents want reviewed downwards.

“Waiting will not help, I thought we were going to discuss the letter, then come up with a date if the minister is saying he is coming,” said Ward 3 councillor Lungile Nyoni.

Ward 10 councillor Nkanyiso Sibindi said: “We are councillors and we make decisions. So we should come up with a decision today and when the minister comes to tell us his side, we will tell him that we are councillors and we were elected.”

Cllr Moyo who chairs the finance committee which is charge of budget formulation interjected saying the confusion within council had escalated.

“The problem here is that we are confused by things happening. The mayor and Town Clerk are the face of council which is why when you told us that the minister is coming, we listened as your children.

“The problem which brings us confusion is that when we do things, we are told that the minister said this and that without anything written down. There is no written communication.

“You advertise stands and you hear that the minister has said over the phone that we should not sell but there won’t be any written communication.

“I have been saying this several times and now the statement that you said when we started the meeting is now contradicting what’s being suggested here that we as councillors have power to make decisions. Surely if we do that, he will come on us. What I am saying is we are now confused,” said Cllr Moyo.

He said the impression among stakeholders was that himself as chair of finance committee was against residents’ plea for review of the budget.

The mayor has been in a cold war with Town Clerk Ronnie Dube who was on Monday released from remand prison on $50 000 bail for a charge of abuse of office.

Councillors accuse mayor Dlamini of plotting against Dube.

“Tell us what we should do because you are the one who meets the minister, some of us will never meet him.

“Guide us because we are tired of kangaroo meetings and everything that is happening yet with nothing written down. We only hear there are phone calls being made.

“This is an organisation, let’s do things procedurally. We are not humiliating anyone here,” said Cllr Moyo.

The mayor hit back telling Cllr Moyo that he was off tracking.

“Let me guide you councillor I think you are getting out of the way. This is not a platform to demean or show disrespect or to humiliate each other. If you don’t respect me, respect my office, you have to respect the office of the mayor.

“All I said was that we should be seen doing something on this budget thing as soon as possible.

“The minister’s visit wont cancel our process, we are going to do our process, when he comes, he is going to address councillors, management and residents. So, he doesn’t interfere with our process,” said Dlamini.

The deputy mayor quickly intervened saying: the mayor is peaking colleagues let’s listen” and the statement cut off other councillors who had started interjecting.