Chaos unfolded at Bulawayo’s Full Council Meeting Wednesday afternoon when former Ward 3 Councillor, Tinashe Kambarami turned up to take his position as deputy mayor after a Supreme Court ruling reinstated him.
However, the Supreme Court ruling was said to be ‘moot’ as Kambarami was recalled by his party the MDC-T.
Kambarami believes otherwise, arguing the recall is null and void as it happened after the city council had suspended him.
The drama started when Bulawayo mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni arrived and said there was an “intruder” in the meeting.
“There is a misnomer, I think there’s an intruder in the house. Chamber Secretary, may you ask the colleague to leave the council,” he said while Kambarami interjected and claimed the council knew of the Supreme Court judgment.
The mayor said the council had not received anything therefore Kambarami must not be in attendance.
“Whatever issues you have must be dealt with outside the meeting, not in this meeting,” Clr Mguni said.
Kambarami insisted the council was served and in possession of the Supreme Court ruling and letter from his lawyers so “it must not be above the law.”
As the disagreement ensued security was called to escort Kambarami out, who was shouting for them to stop “manhandling” him.
In an interview with CITE after he was chucked out, Kambarami explained that the recall was ineffective as he was not in office.
“The Supreme Court judgement reinstated me as deputy mayor and there was a lot of activity that happened during the process. Council then went on to elect another deputy mayor which was illegal. My case was still pending in the courts and there was a recall of eight councillors including myself. But my case was different from the seven other councillors because you cannot recall someone who is not in office,” he said.
Kambarami said MDC-T could not recall him as his election had been nullified and the council had also withdrawn his benefits.
“Because the judgment from (Justice Thompson) Mabhikwa had nullified my election as councillor and also as deputy mayor, MDC-T could not recall someone whose election has been nullified,” he said.
“The council had taken a position that I had ceased to be a councillor and they withdrew my benefits meaning I was no longer a councillor. The recall was a non-event because I was no longer a councillor. You can’t recall someone who is not there, so the council was supposed to wait until my issue was resolved because they knew there was an appeal.”
He also argued that by appointing another councillor as deputy mayor, the city council acted illegally.
“Council also accepted the recall which was illegal because the Supreme Court last Thursday finalised my issue and I was reinstated. I don’t know the reasons why I’m now facing resistance. It’s political,” Kambarami said.
“They are taking political decisions to chuck me out of council using security, who manhandled me physically. The council is in contempt of the Supreme Court Judgment. It’s very clear they have been served and some of them (in council) are lawyers so this is the situation.”
Ward 24 councillor, Arnold Batirai, who was in the council meeting and in support of Kambarami questioned why the council did not want him there.
“The Supreme Court was very clear of this judgment and who are we as council to deny the judgement? This is pure contempt of court. Why deny Ward 3 residents their rights? They chose Kambarami as their councillor who represented them well,” he said.
“Is council doing anything that they don’t want to be unmasked? I say this because when Kambarami was expelled from council, he had raised issues of corruption that are still pending as no one investigated them. The Council is defying the Supreme Court on daylight.”
Batirai alleged the council was using politics to stop Kambarami.
“People sanitise issues through politics but the residents of Bulawayo deserve better. All decisions made against him are illegal. The council is not a brotherhood committee, its mandate is to represent people. We have to deal with issues genuinely but the council is disadvantaging Ward 3 residents. Corrupt tendencies are in the lime light and no one investigated them after Kambarami raised issues,” said the councillor.