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Makoni said dismissal of Mudzuri work of Gang of Four

Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni said the dismissal of Elias Mudzuri as mayor of Harare in April 2003 was the work of the Gang of Four- Ignatius Chombo, Joseph Made, Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Chinamasa.

Mudzuri was sacked as mayor allegedly for mismanagement. Mudzuri claimed that Chombo wanted to trigger unnecessary chaos and confusion in the city.

Makoni said the move could have been a part of a move by the “Gang of Four” (Local Government Minister Chombo, Agriculture Minister Made, Information Minister Moyo, and Minister of Justice Chinamasa) “to consolidate their positions and ‘radicalize’ the situation amid reports that their sole source of influence and power -President Robert Mugabe- may be contemplating retirement”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE833, HARARE MAYOR SUSPENDED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE833

2003-04-30 14:42

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

301442Z Apr 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000833

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2013

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: HARARE MAYOR SUSPENDED

 

REF: HARARE 77

 

Classified By: POLITICAL OFFICER KIMBERLY JEMISON FOR REASONS 1.5 (C) A

ND (D).

 

Summary

———

1. (C) The suspension of Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, on April

29 for alleged mismanagement of the city is an effort by the

ruling party ZANU-PF to regain control of the capital city.

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works, and National

Housing, Ignatius Chombo, by applying Section 54 of the Urban

Councils Act, seems to be trying to pave the way for

Mudzuri,s dismissal despite having no legal basis to do so.

We are not certain how Mudzuri will react to this attempt–he

has been counseled to challenge the suspension in High

Court–but in the interim we think that the USG’s position

should be that Mudzuri remains the legally elected and

empowered mayor. End Summary.

 

Minister Suspends Mayor for Mismanagement

—————————————–

2. (U) Following the April 29 Cabinet meeting, Minister of

Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing,

Ignatius Chombo announced Executive Mayor of Harare Elias

Mudzuri,s suspension from office pending the results of an

investigation for misconduct. The Deputy Mayor, Sekesayi

Makwavarara, also MDC is a woman whom Mudzuri has privately

characterized as ¬ sharp8 in a conversation with the

Ambassador, will be acting mayor. The suspension came on the

opening day of the Harare International Festival of the Arts

and during the visit by the Deputy Mayor of Harare’s sister

city Munich, who was outraged with the suspension. Since

Mudzuri took office in March 2002, ZANU-PF, Chombo has been

ZANU-PF’s hatchet man in a campaign to discredit the mayor

and undermine his influence. The GOZ even went so far as to

arrest the mayor, deputy mayor, and several councilors in

January for meeting with constituents, in supposed

contravention of the Public Order and Security Act. (See

Reftel).

 

3. (U) Chombo told the government-controlled newspaper,

Herald that a committee of inquiry would be appointed next

week to investigate the allegations and recommend a course of

action. Chombo said the committee, unlike a commission,

would not run the affairs of the city–leaving the

overwhelmingly MDC-dominated council intact to continue

governing Harare. Mudzuri told the Ambassador that he urged

his councilors not to quit in protest at his suspension.

(NOTE: Under the Urban Councils Act, the Minister may appoint

a commission to act as council if all the councilors have

been suspended or are unable to exercise all or some of their

functions. END NOTE.)

 

4. (U) Chombo claimed that Mudzuri was suspended because of

mismanagement of city affairs that has led to a decline in

service delivery. In particular, Chombo accuses Mudzuri of:

–Failing to deliver and publicize a strategic turnaround

plan for the city.

–Arbitrarily suspending key management staff without a staff

audit.

–Abusing his authority by selectively reprimanding employees

for misconduct.

–Encouraging illegal activities within the city through

press advertisements, contrary to one of the council mandates

to protect the public health of residents.

–Flouting and ignoring tender procedures to benefit

individuals and companies of his choosing. He is also

accused of manipulating these procedures in tendering

services related to water billing systems, street light

fittings, procurement of water treatment chemicals, and

refuse collection.

–Mismanaging public finances by producing partisan documents

not in the interest of sound, smooth governance.

–Encouraging employees to participate in the stayaways in

March and April.

–Failing to sufficiently supply water to the city and

satellite towns since September.

 

Measured Response By Party

————————–

5. (U) Mudzuri dismissed Chombo,s accusations telling the

independent newspaper, Daily News, denying that there are

suitable grounds for suspension. However he would be willing

to submit his performance and continued tenure in office to

city residents in a referendum. (NOTE: The Urban Councils

Act states that the Minister may suspend a mayor if he is

suspected of having been guilty of conduct that renders him

unsuitable as a mayor. The same clause states that the

President may dismiss a mayor if he is guilty of conduct that

makes him unsuitable to be mayor. END NOTE.) Mudzuri

claimed that Chombo wants to trigger unnecessary chaos and

confusion in the city. At a subsequent dinner with the

Ambassador, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador

the MDC would not rush into street protests over this issue.

He said the MDC would stick to its own timetable. Another

dinner guest, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni speculated

that this latest development could be part of a move by the

&Gang of Four8 (Chombo, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made,

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, and Minister of Justice

Patrick Chinamasa) to consolidate their positions and

“radicalize” the situation amid reports that their sole

source of influence and power–President Robert Mugabe–may

be contemplating retirement.

 

6. (U) Beatrice Mtetwa, Mudzuri’s attorney, outlined the

mayor’s response to Chombo. Mtetwa said she would deliver a

letter to Chombo today stating that he has no legal basis for

suspending Mudzuri but that they would not take him to court

over the matter. Mtetwa told us she is advising Mudzuri to

not go to court because the likelihood that he would face a

judge sympathetic to ZANU-PF was great. The objective is to

force Chombo to prove his case rather than have Mudzuri prove

his innocence. Elder ZANU-PF statesman, Eddison Zvobgo, who

told the Ambassador that he had talked with Mudzuri about the

suspension and informed Mudzuri that Chombo has no

“reasonable grounds” as stated in the act for suspending

Mudzuri. He counseled Mudzuri to file a petition with the

High Court charging Chombo with overreaching his authority.

 

Comment

——-

7. (C) The suspension of Mayor Mudzuri–a popular mayor who

has had some successes in improving city services despite the

ZANU-PF campaign to sabotage his efforts–is a transparent

attempt to prevent the MDC’s most prominent office-holder

from delivering services effectively and thus further

diminishing the ruling party’s waning support in the capital

city. Since other ZANU-PF tactics have not succeeded in

dashing Mudzuri’s popularity, ZANU-PF has ignored legal

niceties in its attempts to unseat the mayor. Chombo

probably intends to use a section of the Urban Councils Act

to assemble a hand-picked committee assembled to

“investigate” the allegations and determine that the

President has grounds to dismiss the mayor.

 

8. (C) Mudzuri told the Ambassador that in spite of the

suspension he would still like to attend the International

Conference of Mayors in Denver in June and fulfill his prior

Washington appointments. We strongly support this course of

action. Given the clearly political nature of his suspension

and the fact that this is only a suspension and not a

dismissal, our maintaining USG sponsorship of this trip would

send a strong signal of support for the MDC mayor at this

difficult time. Chombo’s machinations aside, it remains our

view that Mudzuri is still the legally elected leader of this

city. End Comment.

SULLIVAN

(34 VIEWS)

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