Councillors defy Kasukuwere, vow to skip Thursday tribunal

SUSPENDED Gweru city councillors have vowed not to appear before a “Kangaroo court” local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere established to “fire” them.

Kasukuwere, earlier this week, wrote to the councillors summoning them to appear before a tribunal this Thursday.

The 12 Councillors, including mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, were last month suspended by Kasukuwere on allegations of gross misconduct and mismanagement of council funds.

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Immediately after the suspension, Kasukuwere set up a three-member commission to run the affairs of the Midlands capital and appointed former Masvingo town clerk, Tsunga Mhangami as its chair.

Lawyers representing the suspended councillors said their clients would not attend the Thursday summons.

Tafadzwa Christmas from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, on Wednesday, advised Kasukuwere that his “kangaroo court” was illegal and “our clients will not turn up for the trial”.

“We note that, in your notices, you make averments that the tribunal is meant to uphold the principles of natural justice by affording our clients the right to be heard which apparently is lacking in the provisions of the Urban Councils Act,” wrote Christmas citing the specific sections of the Act.

“We however, wish to advise that in addition to the failure by Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act (29:15) to adhere to principles of natural justice, as is apparently also conceded by your office as stated above, the section also runs afoul of the provisions of Section 278 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

“We wish to advise that, the tribunal which you have set-up fails to meet the requisite elements to be the tribunal envisaged in terms of section 278 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“This is because it is not founded on any Act of Parliament and thus has no legally provided for quasi-judicial jurisdiction over elected officials.

“In addition, without the express provisions of an enabling Act of Parliamentthere is no way of proving that the tribunal you have set-up is Independentboth in terms of its constituting members or its adjudicating and discretionary powers,” wrote Christmas.

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