The Herald (Harare)

6 December 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Elbows Out Poor Councillors

MDC-T has resolved to bar party members that do not own property in towns and cities from contesting Local Government elections on its ticket. The party is also proposing a host of measures it claims will purge corruption in the rank and file of its officials in municipalities.

This comes at a time when party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend admitted that councillors from his party were corrupt.

MDC-T secretary for Local Government Mr Sessel Zvidzai said his party was coming up with minimum qualifications for people wishing to stand as the party's local authorities' representatives.

"The majority of our aspiring councillors should be people who pay rates of some sort. The political environment is now conducive to have people who own property like in Borrowdale to contest in elections knowing his/her house will not be burnt down," said Mr Zvidzai who is also the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development.

"Committee chairpersons and mayors and their deputies we expect them to have at least Ordinary Level qualification plus a tertiary qualification. We also want managerial experience for people to be considered for those positions."

Mr Zvidzai said his party would only waive the property requirement on "capable" youths to fill their quota.

In previous elections, vendors and touts among other people, contested and won on MDC-T tickets in both local authorities and parliamentary elections.

Mr Zvidzai said only literate aspiring candidates would be allowed to contest so that they could challenge technocrats when they try to mislead them.

Addressing the Matabeleland North party provincial council on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai also said the new qualifications were meant to curb corruption.

"We had problems in our councils. They embarrassed us because of corruption. We are now going to put (minimum) qualifications for councillors. It is not going to be open to everyone.

"Those who don't qualify we won't forget you. There will be so many jobs for you when we win. Those who shout very loud, we will make you bodyguards. You cannot impose yourself if you don't qualify (to be a councillor)," said Mr Tsvangirai.

Several MDC-T run councils have been accused of corruption with the party firing those implicated.

The party recently expelled 12 councillors from various cities for engaging in corruption.

Those axed include Harare deputy mayor and Hatcliffe councillor Emmanuel Chiroto, Gweru Mayor Tedius Chimombe and Bindura deputy mayor Ivory Matanhire along with nine other councillors.

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