17 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Mliswa, Norton Council Embroiled in Tribal Storm

Norton legislator Mr Temba Mliswa is under fire for allegedly practising tribalism in his fight against councillors and Norton Town Council officials. Mr Mliswa is said to have written a letter to one of the councillors, Mr Bernard Mujedi of Ward 13, that consisted of tribal connotations. Some of the Norton councillors and officials do not come from Mashonaland West province and they accuse Mr Mliswa of abusing them on tribal lines.

The Norton Town Council's lawyers are in the process of applying for a peace order against Mr Mliswa following his unwarranted interference with council business.

Apart from accusing Mr Mliswa of persecuting them based on tribalism, the councillors and officials also said he threatens them with violence.

Norton Town Council chairperson councillor Precious Mufahore said in an interview that Mr Miswa was unfairly victimising the officials and councillors.

"We have nothing against Mliswa, but his approach has been tribal in some cases, like writing letters to councillors threatening them on the basis on their tribe," she said. "We are seeing tribalism in his approach.

"If we have done anything against him, let him say it and provide evidence. He cannot say that we do not have capacity as councillors because he is not the one who elected us.

"Our lawyers are processing the peace order. We thought, as an MP, Mliswa was going to stand for development in Norton. He should let our councillors be free in their wards and the officials should freely do their business at the council offices without fearing being harmed by Mliswa."

Cllr Mufahore said Norton Town Council consisted of seven female councillors and six male, and the fact that women were the majority could probably have miffed Mr Mliswa.

"We also view his actions as harassment based on gender discrimination because the town is led by a women as the council chairperson and women dominate business because they are more than men," she said.

Some residents who spoke to The Herald said they were not happy that Mr Mliswa was fighting council officials at the expense of development.

"If a councillor calls for a meeting, Mliswa also spreads word calling for his own meeting at the same venue and at the same time with that of the councillor," said one of the residents.

"He ends up telling the councillor that he should step aside from the meeting. If he has support, why can't he just call a meeting on his own?"

Cllr Mufahore said Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Saviour Kasukuwere was aware of the tiff between Mr Mliswa and the town council officials.

"We held a meeting with the Minister to whom we report and told him that the situation was now unbearable for us in Norton because of Mliswa," she said.

"The Minister told us to continue doing our normal duties and ignore him."

Mliswa is accused of mobilising a few of his supporters to pose as Norton residents with grievances against the council and land developers, but do not provide evidence to their claims of fraud.

Former Norton chief executive Mr Winslow Muyambi said the town council was doing its work above board and some of Mr Mliswa's allegations were baseless.

"From what I know, housing schemes like Galloway have development permits and sub-division permits," he said. "The Galloway housing development is expected to meet conditions by 2020 and avail title deeds, according to the conditions set during my time at council."

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