MDC-T president, Douglas Mwonzora, whose party controls the ‘majority’ of councillors in Bulawayo, has dismissed assertions that Ward 3 Councillor Tinashe Kambarami is the deputy mayor, saying the High Court cannot appoint one to that position.
Earlier this month, the Bulawayo High Court reinstated Kambarami, stating he could resume his duties.
Kambarami’s lawyers said this meant he could take over as both councillor and deputy mayor of Bulawayo.
Kambarami was dismissed from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) after the courts declared he was unfit for office due to his criminal record, a case which was brought forward by a pressure group, the 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement (1893MRM) that had approached the Bulawayo High Court in November 2018.
This development culminated in a legal battle for three years as Kambarami appealed his conviction and challenged his dismissal from BCC, subsequently receiving favour early this August.
In Kambarami’s absence, Ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube, was elected deputy mayor.
At that time, Bulawayo Mayor, Solomon Mguni also claimed that Kambarami who is a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member was recalled from the council by the Mwonzora-led MDC-T.
Responding to questions at the Bulawayo Media Centre Tuesday, Mwonzora said the High Court cannot reinstate an individual to be a mayor or deputy mayor.
“I don’t even see why the deputy mayor of Bulawayo is an issue maybe you can tell me why and how the issue has arisen. I can only surmise that you are talking about Councillor Kambarami’s reinstatement,” said the MDC-T leader.
He noted that Kambarami was reinstated by the High Cout as a councillor, but “wasn’t reinstated as a deputy mayor.”
“I don’t know where people are reading this from, he was reinstated as a councillor. A court does not reinstate a person as a mayor at all.”
Mwonzora defined claims that Kambarami should be appointed deputy mayor as mischief.
“So of course, there will be politics at play, and sometimes mischief,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ncube also approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking to block Kambarami from becoming the city’s deputy mayor.
Ncube argued that Kambarami was recalled in terms of the Urban Council Act section 103.
“It was incumbent upon councillors and the 2nd respondent (Bulawayo) to trigger an election of a deputy mayor. The election must be done within my 30 days in terms of the law and that is what was done.
“This action also fall within my administrative rights and triggered my assumption of duties from the 7th of October 2020 to date and this has included me getting allowances and other benefits in terms of the Urban Council Act,” further reads Ncube’s application.