via High court stops kasukuwere – The Zimbabwean 14 September 2015 by Brenna Matendere
Bulawayo High court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo has ordered a tribunal appointed by Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to hear cases of suspended Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and 10 MDC-T councillors to stop the proceedings with immediate effect.
The judge made the ruling yesterday after the councillors had filed an urgent court application challenging their suspensions they describe as illegal.
In the application, Kombayi and the councillors cited Kasukuwere, tribunal chairperson Lixon Chikumbirike and the other two members; Ganyani Khosa and Nicholas Moyo as respondents.
“It is in the interest of justice that this honourable court make a pronouncement on the actions of first respondent (Kasukuwere) and protect the applicants and those whom they represent, who are faced with a clear violation of their rights by an unlawful act, which is continuous, as the tribunal is dertemined to proceed with the disciplinary hearings.
In her brief ruling, judge Moyo concurred and ordered the stop to the tribunal’s proceedings that had already seen six councillors appearing before it. She set September 2 as the date for both Kasukuwere and the councillors to articulate their heads of arguments.
Esau Mandipa, one of the councillors’ lawyers, confirmed the development and said the judge will give a full-fledged ruling after Kasukuwere gives out his side on the case.
“What has happened is that the judge has said the tribunal’s proceedings must stop until the matter is finalised by the court. Kasukuwere is therefore now expected to come and defend his actions and then the judge may rule on whether he is right or wrong in suspending the mayor and councillors. We expect that to happen on 22 September,” he said.
If the High court rules that Kasukuwere’s actions were illegal, it will mean that the mayor and his team are reinstated at the council. Possible by-elections to fill their posts which had already been taunted as inevitable, would also fall away.