BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
CHITUNGWIZA mayor Lovemore Maiko has written to Local Government minister July Moyo challenging the “unlawful” appointment of Zanu PF councillor for ward 13, Kiven Mutimbanyoka, as his deputy.
Mutimbanyoka replaced Musa Makweza (MDC Alliance) who was recalled as ward 19 councillor last November.
In a letter dated September 1, Maiko reminded Moyo that there was no provision in the Urban Council’s Act which gives him the power to appoint a substantive deputy mayor.
“As appears in your letters, the appointment was purportedly made in terms of section 104(3) of the Urban Council’s Act,” Maiko wrote.
“In consideration of legal counsel that I have received, the appointment is unlawful. Section 104(3) doesn’t give you the power to appoint an acting mayor when the offices of both the mayor and deputy are vacant, both are absent, incapacitated or failed to act.”
He added: “There is no provision in the Act which gives you the power to appoint a substantive mayor, or substantive deputy mayor. You can only appoint an acting mayor. Those substantive positions can only be filled through an election.”
Maiko urged Moyo to take corrective measures.
“It’s possible that other interested parties may want to legally challenge your decision,” he said.
Mutimbanyoka’s appointment came at a time when Chitungwiza councillors had scheduled August 31 to elect a substantive deputy mayor following the issuing of a certificate of vacancy by the acting town clerk, Evangelista Machona, on August 18.
The meeting was stopped by Moyo and Machona through separate letters to Maiko.
However, Maiko argued that the council was still within its right to elect a deputy mayor.
“In terms of section 103(4) of the Act, council was still within the statutory 30 days to elect a deputy mayor from the date of the certificate of vacancy being issued by the acting town clerk,” he said.
Maiko told NewsDay Weekender that Moyo was targeting to appoint Mutimbanyoka as acting mayor.
“The ultimate goal is to remove me and Mutimbanyoka will remain as the acting mayor so that the refuse compactors which we purchased come under his reign,” Maiko said.
“Moyo wants all these things to start rolling after firing us. You would find out that Chitungwiza has never had an MDC mayor who lasts five years. The council has never worked uninterrupted and that’s why consistency in programming is affected.”
He said Zanu PF had used the same script “for quite long thinking that when it comes to elections, they will have chances of winning”.
“Every time they have done that, they lost. They will continue to lose. People know what’s happening,” Maiko said.
“Mutimbanyoka tried for two times to be a mayor, but kept on losing despite vote buying. Now another way to smuggle him through backdoor was used.”