By Nkosana Dlamini
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has scoffed at a recent bid to overthrow him as the city’s number one resident by MDC-T rivals who originated a dodgy recall petition later disowned by his party.
Prior to the latest ouster bid, Manyenyeni survived a couple attempts by former Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to force him out of Town House over alleged professional misdemeanours.
But the most unlikely attempt on his many lives as mayor emanated from his own party two weeks ago when MDC-T rivals “recalled” him from Town House on charges of refusing to take orders.
At the time, the mayor did not comment about the development but later circulated contents of a letter he wrote to the party chairman accepting his fate, adding that he will not contest a recall order he learnt about via social media.
It has since emerged the recall order, although confirmed by MDC-T Harare provincial chairman Erick Murai, was never sanctioned by the party and has been disowned by officials at Harvest House.
In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com weekend, Manyenyeni, who is now back at Town House, trashed the recall attempt which he said lasted for only six hours.
“It was such a baseless effort with so much damage to the party and council,” Manyenyeni said.
“The party hierarchy decided it was not even worth pursuing. The cabal’s petition had already leaked. I have not even seen it.”
Party secretary general Douglas Mwonzora also distanced his office from the petition which he said was invalid without his signature.
“I did not know anything about the recall. Mostly, all recalls are done by the Secretary General and I did not write that letter,” Mwonzora said.
“I do not know who had recalled him; so, there was no formal recall by the party at all. Until I write that letter, then he remains the mayor.”
The MDC-T is currently embroiled in a fierce succession fight following the February 14 death of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai through colon cancer.
With party hawks trading blows, Manyenyeni was set to become the first high profile casualty of the dog fight.
The Harare mayor attributes his coup bid to unnamed individuals who were trying to ride on the current succession storm to throw fatal political punches at him.
“The needy and greedy forged an embarrassing petition. The (public) outcry threw them out.
“The petition was nowhere to be found. The recall never lasted 6 hours,” he said.
Asked if he could have been a victim of the current factional infighting within the party, Manyenyeni said he was too junior to attract any attention from party factions.
“I am very junior in the party mind you,” he said.
“I have no space for factional alignment. I am driven by what is right. I remain situational.
“I don’t wish to be owned. Which is why I had no one fighting in my corner. That is what the rebels were banking on.”
He added, “The danger of being allocated a faction is there. The party needs such kind of people especially now.
“Those who fear sustained governance drove the petition and I am told this was supported or financed by disgruntled executives.”