Mudzuri got off on the wrong foot as Harare mayor- Wikileaks


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Elias Mudzuri got off on the wrong foot with some people in the Combined Harare Residents Association and his own Movement for Democratic Change by taking possession of the mayoral Mercedes and moving into the guest house of a lavish mayoral mansion built by the previous regime, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The cable says Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo was only too happy to fuel this dispute by requiring that the mayor occupy the mansion rather than sell it off.

Mudzuri beat the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association David Samudzimu for the MDC mayoral nomination, reportedly by doing politics the “old-fashioned way” through free lunches and beers, the cable says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE1463, OPPOSITION MAYORS OF HARARE AND CHITUNGWIZA FACE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1463

2002-06-24 11:03

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001463

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/FO AND AF/S; NSC FOR SR DIR JENDAYI FRAZER,

AID FOR AFR;

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2012

TAGS: PGOV EAID ZI

SUBJECT: OPPOSITION MAYORS OF HARARE AND CHITUNGWIZA FACE

GOZ OBSTACLES

 

 

Classified By: JOSEPH G. SULLIVAN FOR REASONS 1.5B/D

 

1.(C) Summary: The Ambassador met separately the week of

June 10 with MDC Mayors of Harare and Chitungwiza. Their

styles could not be more different. Harare Mayor Mudzuri

served as chief city engineer and won a contentious and

flashy campaign for the MDC mayoral nomination, while

Chitungwiza Mayor Misheck Shoko is a soft-spoken former

school headmaster with war-veteran credentials and a

pragmatic bent. Both are hamstrung by Local Government

Minister Ignatius Chombo, who has substantial authority and

motive to make their jobs difficult. While both are

bedeviled by staffs chosen by ZANU-PF predecessors whom

Chombo has intervened to protect, while Chitungwiza is

additionally handicapped by a town council dominated by

ZANU-PF(since only Harare had simultaneous Council elections.

Both mayors recognized, however, that no excuses will make

up for failure to deliver for their residents. Harare, in

particular, with a substantial revenue base and succeeding a

corrupt and ineffective interim city management, has stepped

out smartly to repair streets and public works. We will be

looking at ways that we can help these new administrations

get off to a good start. End Summary

 

2. (C) Harare Mayor Mudzuri beat out the Chairman of the

Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) David Samudzimi

for the MDC mayoral nomination, reportedly by doing politics

the “old-fashioned way” through free lunches and beers.

Mudziri also got off on the wrong foot with some in CHRA and

the MDC by taking possession of the mayoral Mercedes and

moving into the guest house of a lavish mayoral mansion built

by the previous regime. (Minister Chombo was only too happy

to fuel this dispute by requiring that the Mayor occupy the

mansion rather than sell it off.) Public criticism of the

Mayor for “intolerable acquiescence to the Minister’s

dictates” by new CHRA Acting Director Mike Davies brought the

disputes among the opposition into embarrassing public light.

Subsequently, the MDC and Mayor Mudziri have worked hard to

repair the damage and present a united fight, both

recognizing that Chombo will do nothing to help the Harare

city administration and will take full profit from MDC

disunity.

 

3. (c) During his meeting with the Ambassador, Mudziri

complained that Minister Chombo had reversed virtually all

the terminations of eleventh-hour ZANU-PF appointments,

including that of notorious war veteran leader Joseph

Chinotimba as a city security officer. Chombo has directed

that all personnel and financial decisions by the city be

referred to him. Mudzuri noted that even the City Council’s

sacking of a high-ranking ZANU-PF official as the city’s

recently appointed public relations director awaited Chombo’s

approval. Mudzuri told the Ambassador that the law was

unfortunately on Chombo’s side and there was little point

fighting in court. Instead, he would act in every area

possible without asking permission. For example, the Mayor

intended to carry out an audit of city accounts by

Price-Waterhouse for 2.5 million Zimdollars(about 500

thousand US dollars at the official rate). Mudziri said that

he stated that he had good relations with citizens’ groups

and that he was also seeking to repair his relations with the

CHRA, although there were still some difficulties. He also

said that he was focusing on long-neglected public works and

street repairs in these early months in order to show the

citizenry that he was working in their interests. He

expressed interest in training opportunities for city

officials and councilors and in reviving a dormant

relationship with Harare’s sister city of Cincinnati.

 

4,(c) Chitungwiza Mayor Shoko has gotten off to a better

start with civil society by meeting with them early on. His

inherited city council, however, is dominated by ZANU-PF war

veterans and have stormily opposed most of his initiatives,

including the concept of consultation with residents. The

Mayor told the Ambassador that the only gesture of

conciliation offered by his Councilors was an offer to cut

him in on a mutual distribution of commercial plots to be

operated or sold by the Mayor and Councilors. His rejection

of the offer and the scheme won him no friends in the

Council. Shoko also complained that he has no employees of

confidence in his administration, including his security. As

an ex war veteran himself, Shoko said that he was dealing

with his political problems in a personal way without backing

down. He is also hamstrung by Minister Chombo, who recently

overruled Shoko’s efforts to dismiss those city councilors

who had violated rules against missing more than two

consecutive council meetings. Shoko was also anxious to

cooperate with us in addressing his high density suburb’s

myriad problems.

 

5. (c) Comment: These two mayors have assumed challenging

tasks at a time when the country’s economy is collapsing.

They will get no favors and only obstruction from Minister

Chombo. But as the MDC seeks to show it is more than an

opposition party, how it does in these highly visible posts

takes on added importance. We will work with these two

newcomers to see how we might help them within the context of

our pilot programs on local government.

SULLIVAN

(84 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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