By Nyasha N Mukapiko
Harare City Council (HCC) Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni on Tuesday failed to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development chaired by Mutasa South constituency legislator Irene Zindi.
Manyenyeni who did not respond to an earlier communication that was addressed to him, opted to send Acting Town Clerk Josephine Ncube and the Acting Director for housing Retired Major Mathew Marara.
According to the weekly parly schedule, HCC was to submit oral evidence before the Local Government Committee on its involvement in the Caledonia housing project.
Zindi told the acting town clerk that they were disappointed as a committee following Manyenyeni’s decision to boycott.
“Mayor Manyenyeni did not take the business of this committee seriously; we want to say it to you that we are strongly disappointed. We wrote to him and he never wrote back to the committee informing us of his absence, it could have been better if he had sent his deputy to represent him”, Zindi said.
Zindi said she was going to write to back Mayor Manyenyeni again, summoning him to appear before the committee.
“We take the Mayor as the head of the institution, therefore you are excused”, Zindi added, sending the committee into adjournment.
Last week on Tuesday Minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere and his team appeared before the same committee, submitting oral evidence on the allocation of national revenues to the provinces and local authorities.
Kasukuwere bragged before the committee praising his ministry saying that before their intervention Caledonia was in chaos, he said a lot of development was now taking shape including the construction of a tarred road.
The Caledonia housing project is now being administered under a government ran parastal called Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) working in partnership with HCC. Udcorp became in charge after housing cooperatives were rendered illegal.
“So Udcorp is now the Project Manager of the Caledonia housing project” Kasukuwere told the committee last week.
Talking to journalist before the committee went into session, Mabvuku legislator James Maridadi hinted that it was difficult to bring sanity into Caledonia as the new suburb was being used for vote mobilisation ahead of the 2018 elections.
Observers has linked Manyenyeni’s boycott to friction between the two. Ncube is said to be linked to the Zanu-PF party.
Last year mayor Manyenyeni suspended Ncube without allowances and salary following an audit report by the local government ministry which fingered her in a salary scandal; however his decision was met with resistance as Ncube was rescinded back.
By Nyasha N Mukapiko