But Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told journalists in the city that he had suspended Executive Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza and three other top officials without pay or other benefits for flouting regulations and for financial indiscipline.
Chombo did not elaborate on the charges against the mayor and his officials whom he said were suspended pending investigations and further disciplinary action.
Kagurabadza, who won the Mutare mayorship on an opposition Movement for Democratic Change party ticket, could not be reached for comment on the matter last night.
The opposition mayor embarrassed the government when he took UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka around the city showing her families who were living in the open without adequate food or clean water after their homes were demolished by the government.
The governor of Manicaland province under which Mutare falls, Tinaye Chigudu, publicly criticised Kagurabadza accusing him of improper conduct and of wanting to misrepresent the clean-up drive to Tibaijuka.
A report by Tibaijuka released on Friday castigated the government clean-up exercise as a gross violation of human rights. She has called for the prosecution of those behind the operation.
Chombo headed the Cabinet committee that masterminded the operation which has also been roundly condemned by the United States of America, European Union, Zimbabwean and international human rights groups. - ZimOnline