By NQOBANI NDLOVU
DETHRONED Bulawayo deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami has again approached the High Court seeking reinstatement as ward 3 councillor, and as the city’s second in command.
In June, Kambarami caused a scene in the council chambers as he insisted on resuming his duties after appealing a High Court ruling which nullified his election victory at the Supreme Court.
High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that Kambarami violated section 119(2)(e) of the Electoral Act for not disclosing his conviction on theft charges.
Kambarami insists on being re-instated, arguing that the MDC-T erred by recalling him from council as he was not serving as a councillor at the time when the High Court annulled his 2018 election victory.
His seat was declared vacant after it was discovered that he had a previous conviction.
“The application for a declaratur is made on the grounds that the letter written by MDC-T be declared null and void in as far as it relates to the applicant (Kambarami), as he was not serving as a councillor during that time. He, therefore, could not be recalled,” Kambarami’s latest court action filed by his lawyers, Samp Mlaudzi and Partners, read in part.
Kambarami cited the Bulawayo City Council, MDC-T, Local Government minister July Moyo, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as respondents.
“Further and alternatively, the decision of the MDC-T to expel or arrive at the determination that applicant is no longer a member of the Bulawayo City Council to be declared unlawful is set aside, consequently, the letter written by the second respondent to the third respondent is declared null and void,” the court application read.
He also seeks an order stopping Mnangagwa from “proclaiming a date for the holding of a by-election in ward 3, Bulawayo, in terms of section 39 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13]”.
However, the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T insisted that Kambarami should remain recalled alongside seven other Bulawayo councillors and legislators.
“The party has not departed from its earlier position, and if need be, it will reinforce that position through its legal team,” party spokesperson Witness Dube said.
The Constitution, under sections 129(1)(k) and 278(1), provides for the recall of elected officials from Parliament and council chambers.
In September, the MDC-T recalled Kambarami (ward 3), Concilia Mlalazi (ward 18), Alderman Earnest Rafamoyo (ward 20), Tinevimbo Maphosa (ward 21), Alderman Norman Hlabani (ward 26), Alderman Clayton Zana (ward 19), Donaldson Mabuto (ward 9) and Lillian Mlilo (ward 16).
By-elections were initially scheduled for December to fill the vacant posts, but Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga issued a statutory instrument suspending the holding of elections citing COVID-19 restrictions.
However, a number of countries have held elections during the pandemic and analysts argue that the continued ban on elections in the country is an assault on democracy and the Constitution.