The Bulawayo High Court has granted an order reinstating Tinashe Kambarami as deputy mayor and Ward 3 councillor of the Bulawayo City Council after a three-year battle in court.
Kambarami’s woes started in November 2018 when a pressure group, the 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement (1893MRM) approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking his termination from office claiming he was unfit for office due to his criminal record.
This was after Kambarami appeared before a Bulawayo magistrate in July 2018, on theft charges where he pleaded guilty and was fined $80 or 18 days in prison for stealing an extension cord from an electrician he had hired to do manual work at his offices.
1893MRM said Kambarami’s election violated the electoral laws of the country.
In 2019, Bulawayo High Court Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that Kambarami was unfit for office. Read:https://cite.org.zw/kambarami-not-fit-for-officejudge-mabhikwa/
This opened up a chain of legal battles, as Kambarami cited that he had appealed his conviction and also challenged his removal from council.
Kambarami was cleared by the Supreme Court and has been awaiting his reinstatement since then.
This year after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the respective Nomination Court and by-election dates to fill in vacant seats across the country, Kambarami, through his then-lawyer, Maqhawe Mpofu challenged the March 26 by-election in his ward by filing a declarator.
Kambarami won the case.
It is on this basis, that this Thursday Bulawayo High Court Judge, Justice Martin Makonese confirmed that a vacancy still existed in Ward 3, since Kambarami was evicted from the city council.
In an interview with CITE after Judge Makonese made a ruling, Kambarami’s lawyer, Bruce Masamvu of Mutatu Masamvu and Da Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, said following the order by the Supreme Court, his client was now allowed to assume his normal duties as a councillor and deputy mayor.
“Previously, there was an order of the court which stopped the nomination court, in essence, it then follows that there was no election that was done on Ward 3, so what the High Court is simply saying now is that Kambarami can resume his normal duties,” he said.
“As far as the order is concerned, Kambarami is supposed to resume his normal duties as per before he was dismissed. Our hope is he takes over as deputy mayor of Bulawayo.”
Kambarami expressed joy that ‘finally’ his case was dealt with.
“We have been in court for a long time, as you all know we stopped the by-election in Ward 3 after filing an application for a declarator which was finalised today,” he said.
“The whole story emanated from the case by 1893MRM that nullified my election as a councillor until I appealed. There was some kind of resistance for me to be reinstated which is the reason why I am here. I am happy that justice has been served today.”
Kambarami claimed his nullification from the council was politicised, which was why using the court was necessary.
“To get things right, I had to use the channels in court to sort everything out so there is no grey area or misinterpretation. I am happy because residents in Ward 3 have been orphaned for a long time, as it has been almost three years. Now that I am in office, there’s a lot I can do,” he said.
“I am sure within a short space of time I will be able to pursue some of the projects I was doing in my ward and in the city in general. We have a lot of issues – water and the parking system, issues that I could have been standing in for residents, not only from my ward but the City of Bulawayo. It has always been my hope to serve residents of Ward 3 and Bulawayo. I have plans which I am going to pursue.”
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza added the party welcomed the judgement.
“Prior to his eviction, Kambarami was fighting corruption within the city together with his councillors, and as many people now know, the fate of city councillors who were recalled was done to enable corruption to set foot in Bulawayo,” he said.
“What you are going to see from now hopefully is a fight against corruption, which is quite evident in the city. There are parking issues, service delivery that has gone down in order to sabotage the party and hopefully by the end of our CCC councillors’ terms, the party’s dignity, name and posture in this part of the country will be redeemed.”