via Kasukuwere defies High Court order – The Zimbabwean 28.10.2015
Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has defied the High Court order to reinstate mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and 13 other MDC-T councillors whom he suspended from town house in August.
Investigations by The Zimbabwean reveal that the minister has given strict instructions that Kombayi must not set foot in his office. Bulawayo High Court judge Nokuthula Moyo last month ordered Kasukuwere to immediately reinstate the city fathers whom he had accused of corruption and dismissed.
Moyo said section 114 of the Urban Councils Act, which the Minister used to suspend the councillors and appoint a tribunal, was inconsistent with section 278 of the Constitution.
Sources said the minister, who is also Zanu (PF)’s national commissar, had told town clerk Daniel Matawu that if the city fathers resumed their duties at town house, he would immediately lose his job. “There is tension over the issue of the councillors. The town clerk, who is a lawyer by profession and has been a magistrate in the past, had shown willingness to abide by the High Court order. But Kasukuwere has openly said they should be blocked by all means,” said the source.
The city fathers have been pressing to come back so that they deal with grievances of residents like unilateral hike of water charges, the prolonged shedding of the precious liquid and irregular garbage collection services, which have all angered people in the city.
Though Kombayi could not comment in line with the MDC-T order for officials not to talk to the media, Munyaradzi Mutandavari, the party’s Midlands South spokesperson, confirmed the developments.
“It is true that Kasukuwere is blocking the mayor and his team’s return to town house. This confirms our concerns about the rule of law in Zimbabwe, but we will not get tired of pushing for them to come back and serve the people who elected them in 2013,” he said.
George Mlilo, the local government ministry’s permanent secretary could not shed any light on reasons for refusing to lift the suspensions, saying only “they remain suspended and the caretaker council put in place by Cde Kasukuwere also remains operational.”