via Kombayi free to resume office – The Zimbabwean 7.10.2015
Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and MDC-T councillors who had been suspended by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere are now free to resume their duties at town house.
In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean this week, lawyer Esau Mandipa from Gundu and Dube legal practitioners who represented Kombayi, said the ruling by High Court judge Nokhutula Moyo rendering the suspensions unlawful “effectively translates to reinstatement.”
“The judge ruled that the suspensions were unlawful. So in simple legal terms it means that Kombayi and the other affected councillors should go back to do their work at town house. The minister who suspended them does not even have to invite them back or write them other letters,” said Mandipa.
The lawyer also dismissed any chances of an appeal against the ruling by Kasukuwere. “There are no grounds for anyone to appeal against the ruling. This is so because the matters that were noted by the judge are constitutional so you cannot oppose what is in the constitution. Again, more importantly, the judge said Kasukuwere can only suspend an elected councillor when a new Act of parliament has been put in place so that can probably happen in years to come if we consider the pace at which the laws are being re-aligned, ” he said.
The mayor, his deputy Artwell Matyorauta and all the 13 MDC-T councillors were suspended by Kasukuwere on 13 August this year. The minister accused them of gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs, drawing power to do so from the old Urban Councils Act.
However, Justice Moyo concurred with Kombayi’s legal team that Kasukuwere had misdirected himself in that he had used powers from the Urban Councils Act that have since been scrapped from him by the new constitution.
She also ruled that proceedings of a tribunal that had been set to hold disciplinary hearings for the city fathers should be declared null and void because its members had not been appointed by Parliament.