Mutare(ZimEye)At least 20,000 Mutare residents have vowed to protest against the suspension of the Mayor of Mutare’s suspension and were seen this week preparing for a mass demonstration.
Mayor Brian James was last week suspended by Local government minister Ignatius Chombo on allegations of misconduct.
MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya told ZimEye on Tuesday that the suspension of James was absurd and that over 20 000 people in Mutare have since signed a petition calling for his reinstatement.
“We have written a letter to the police seeking permission to stage the demonstrations from various wards to the government complex where the petition will be handed over to the governor Chris Mushowe,” Muchauraya said.
Muchauraya said Chombo is believed to be fighting hard to remove James, who only recently blocked the sale of land at the Meikles Park to Anjin, a Chinese firm that is mining diamonds in Chiadzwa in partnership with the State owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
The Chinese firm wanted to buy land at Meikles Park (which is prime land in the central business district) for peanuts and intended to build an 18 storey hotel which would also house a supermarket and other shops. Chombo had ordered the Mutare City Council to first give the land to Anjin in exchange for state land that the council would get from the government.
“Council defied Chombo’s interference and on top of that James wanted an audit of council books from 2008 to see how many stands have been sold in the city and who,” Muchauraya said.
Meanwhile, Police details from Mutare Central Law and Order Department have twice raided the offices of Hon Misheck Kagurabadza -the MDC Provincial Secretary and MP for Mutasa South Constituency. The first raid was on Thursday last week and the second was carried out yesterday at about 0900hrs. The officers led by Detective Srgt Ngwende were saying they wanted to interview the MP on matters they did not disclose.
Each time the offices were raided, the MP was in Harare on Parliamentary duty.
“Though the reasons for the raids are not known, we strongly suspect that it is a continuation of ZANU PF tactics of persecuting MDC leadership. The MP will however be visiting the police station tomorrow in the company of our lawyers and the entire MDC Provincial leadership,’ said Muchauraya.
“Meanwhile preparations for a demonstration in Mutare against the suspension of the Mayor Brian James are at an advanced stage. Over 20 000 people in Mutare have since signed the petition calling for the reinstatement of the Mayor. We have written a letter to the police seeking permission to stage the demonstrations from various wards to the Government complex where the petition will be handed over to the illegal Governor Chris Mushowe. This will be followed by an address to the protestors by the MDC Provincial leadership,” he said (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)