HARARE – Suspendeded Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s bid to be reinstated hit a brick-wall yesterday after a High Court judge dismissed his application challenging his suspension by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Manyenyeni was suspended after he appointed former NMBZ Holdings group chief executive officer James Mushore as the new town clerk in defiance of Kasukuwere who had rescinded the appointment on an earlier date.
Kasukuwere argued that Mushore’s appointment had not been approved by the Local Government Board.
High Court judge Maria Zimba-Dube said each party would bear its own costs.
In his court papers, Manyenyeni said Kasukuwere had expressed displeasure at Mushore’s appointment, stating that he did not want him to report for work.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment No. 20)…provides for devolution of power and responsibilities to lower tiers of government in Zimbabwe under its Chapter 14,” he said.
He further said that mayors, chairpersons and councillors are only removed from office by an independent tribunal through an Act of Parliament, which is yet to be promulgated and can only be fired for gross incompetence, gross misconduct and wilful violation of law among other important issues.
“The power to remove a mayor, chairperson or councillor is no longer vested in a minister but in an independent tribunal set up in terms of an Act of Parliament.
“Thus there is no way that the minister can purport to suspend or remove me from office. His authority to do so can only emanate from an Act of Parliament which provides for the establishment of an independent tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the current Constitution,” he said.
Manyenyeni said Kasukuwere had no legal basis to act in the manner he did, arguing the minister’s letter was a “legal nullity”.
The court application dismissal comes a day after acting mayor Christopher Mbanga was recalled by the MDC over his support to have Mushore suspended.
Mbanga and two councillors Stewart Mutizwa and Paula Macharangwanda stand accused of working in cahoots with Kasukuwere and supporting Zanu PF interests.