Saturday, November 02, 2013

(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T suspends Gweru mayor Kombayi
08/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE MDC-T has suspended Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi and four councillors for allegedly defying the party whip during last month’s mayoral elections.

National organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, said Kombayi and the four councillors - Moses Marecha (Ward 5), Tawanda Magidi (Ward 16), Farai Muza (Ward 17) and Artwell Matyorauta (Ward 8) - would soon appear before the party's disciplinary committee.

The officials are accused of defying a directive to vote for the party’s preferred mayoral candidate, councillor Charles Chikozho in the elections.

“I can confirm that Gweru mayor, Cllr Kombayi has been suspended together with four other councillors pending disciplinary hearing. However, the national executive is yet to deliberate on their fate,” said Chamisa.

“The disciplinary process is underway. The councillors are facing allegations of refusing to be guided by the party in the recently held mayoral elections. They will appear before the national disciplinary committee,” he said.

The party has threated to sack officials who defied party instructions during the elections which saw some of MDC-T councillors voting for Zanu PF candidates in towns such as Kwekwe, Redcliff and Victoria Falls.

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo recently said the government would continue to work with the mayors and councillors should they be expelled from the MDC-T.

“The antics that those who voted for an elected Zanu PF councillor to be mayor should be expelled, that is purely an MDC-T matter. It is quite unfortunate . . . we will continue working with the councillors and mayors whether expelled or not,” he said.

However, an independent lawyers group, Veritas, said under the new Constitution, the officials seats automatically become vacant once their party writes to the local government minister advising him of their expulsion.

Said Veritas: “If they (MDC-T) expel any councillors from the party, the next steps are regulated by section 278 of the Constitution which provides that the seat of a mayor, chairperson or councillor in a local authority automatically becomes vacant as soon as a political party has written to the Minister of Local Government that the member has ceased to belong to the party.

“But the party would have no right to fill a vacant seat simply by nominating another qualified party member … (regard mayors or chairpersons) a vacancy must be filled by a councillor elected by the council concerned.

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