TWO recently-elected councillors and a three-member commission will now run the affairs of Gweru, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere has said. The Minister said the commission led by Tsungai Mhangami, whose three-month term expired this week, will remain in office. He said the commission still had a mandate of bringing sanity to the “City of Progress” after the recent suspension of Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and 10 councillors.
“The councillors are there, they still have a mandate to finish. Remember there are matters before the courts which must be finalised before the commission is dissolved. The (elected) councillors will be there also,” said Cde Kasukuwere.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) wrote to the local authority indicating that Cdes Simon Chapukira and Silas Furo had been elected to represent Ward 5 and Ward 11 following the November 11 by elections to fill seats left vacant following the sacking of two MDC-T councillors on corruption charges.
Cde Kasukuwere told The Chronicle that his Ministry had also appealed against an order by a High Court judge to immediately reinstate Clr Kombayi and the 10 councillors. The Minister indefinitely suspended Clr Kombayi, his deputy Artwell Manyorauta and other councillors in August on allegations of gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs. The High Court later set aside the decision.
“We have appealed against the High Court order to reinstate the Gweru councillors,” said the minister last week. The Chronicle could not immediately get hold of the Minister’s appeal papers. However, Clr Kombayi denied that the Government had lodged any appeal against the court’s decision to reinstate them.
“The Minister didn’t and hasn’t appealed (against) the High Court order. I am still the mayor of Gweru. I’m waiting for council to call me when they need my services because I am not employed by council and only go there when duty calls,” said Clr Kombayi.
Last month, Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo, ordered the Minister to reinstate the 11 councillors on the grounds that the section of the Urban Councils Act that was used to suspend the city fathers contravened the Constitution.
Justice Moyo’s ruling was delivered on October 2, following an urgent chamber application filed by the 11 councillors who sought an order declaring their suspension null and void.