via Kasukuwere appeals against reinstatement of mayor, councillors | The Herald November 11, 2015
Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere, has appealed against a Bulawayo High Court order directing him to reinstate suspended Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and 10 councillors.
Last month, Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo, ordered the Minister to reinstate the 11 councillors on the basis that the section of the Urban Councils Act that was used to suspend the city fathers contravened the country’s Constitution.
Justice Moyo’s ruling, which was delivered on October 2, followed an urgent chamber application filed by the 11 councillors who sought an order declaring their suspension null and void.
However, in a move that will keep the councillors away from Town House, Cde Kasukuwere yesterday told The Chronicle that his Ministry had appealed the order.
“We have appealed against the High Court order to reinstate the Gweru councillors,” he said.
The Chronicle could not immediately get hold of the appeal papers.
In August, Minister Kasukuwere indefinitely suspended Kombayi, his deputy Artwell Manyorauta and the other councillors on allegations of gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs.
Justice Moyo said section 114 of the Urban Councils which the Minister used to suspend the councillors and to appoint a tribunal was inconsistent with section 278 of the Constitution.
She said the Constitution provides for the establishment of an independent tribunal to exercise the function of removing from office mayors, council chairpersons and councillors.
The judge said the authority to remove councillors or constitute an independent tribunal was no longer vested in the minister.
“In summary, section 114 of the Urban Councils Act vests all powers to suspend and dismiss councillors, in the Minister of Local Government who is the first respondent. However, section 278 of the Constitution on the other hand gives an impression that the Constitution has taken away the powers that the Minister had in terms of section 114 of the Urban Councils Act and vested the same in an independent tribunal which should be established through an Act of Parliament,” said Justice Moyo.
She said the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law or Act that was inconsistent with it has no force or effect.
“The Constitution thus speaks for itself. Any act or practice which is inconsistent with its provisions is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. It stipulates that the obligation imposed by it are binding on everyone and must be fulfilled by all, including the first respondent as Minister of Local Government,” said Justice Moyo.