Ward 3 residents in Bulawayo will have to wait a little longer to have a council representative as the fate of the embattled former ward 3 councillor and deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami is still before the Supreme Court.
The ward is currently in the hands of a caretaker councillor Silas Chigora since November last year.
Chigora is the substantive Ward 4 Councillor.
The ward covers- Suburbs, Hume Park, Killarney, Waterlea, Orange Grove, Queens Park East, Romney Park, Sunnyside, Paddonhurst, Kumalo, Glengarry, Parklands, Northlea, Woodville and Mahatshula
In August last year, Kambarami was declared unfit for office by the High Court after a challenge by 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement (1893MRM), a social group that argued he was a convicted criminal.
The deposed deputy mayor appealed against that High Court ruling at the Supreme Court while his lawyers Maqhawe Mpofu and Dicksen Moyo of Samp Mlaudzi and Partners wrote to the city council to allow their client to report for duty, pending appeal.
But 1898MRM also made it clear that should the council continue allow Kambarami in office, they would sue them.
In an interview with CITE, Bulawayo mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni, a lawyer by profession, said a by-election for Ward 3 does not arise yet as the courts were still to make a judgement on Kambarami’s appeal.
“The matter is before the court as a judgement of his appeal is pending until the Supreme Court (where Kambarami filed his appeal) makes an announcement. This means we are waiting for the judgement to know the ruling so a by-election does not arise as we are waiting for the courts,” he said.
The mayor confirmed that Cllr Chigora was appointed the caretaker councillor in a resolution made November last year.
As for an acting deputy mayor, Clr Mguni said “there was no provision in the law for that post.”
Reached for comment on how he was managing two wards at the same time, Clr Chigora said it was a matter of balancing time between the areas.
“You are supposed to hold one feedback meeting per month with residents and for the past three months that I have been acting, I have held two meetings at Ward 3, which I attended. The next meeting, which I scheduled with representatives from Mahatshula, will be on February 9, at Mahatshula Primary School at 2PM. I can have two meetings in both Ward 3 and 4 the same month, unless if there are pressing issues, otherwise it’s not that difficult,” he noted.
Cllr Chigora said Ward 3 residents ‘sort of’ understood that political life was mired in challenges.
“Just that Kambarami’s matter in court has not been resolved quickly. The case was supposed to be heard in December but was postponed and I am unsure of the date. As far as residents are concerned, they know that these challenges happen but they want service from council and see someone who comes back to give them feedback. I am trying my best to cater for all the residents in both wards,” he said.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu, claimed that residents were not informed of these processes.
“Firstly, the residents say they were not notified that they now have a caretaker councillor, meaning they were most likely not informed that they don’t have a councillor after the Kambarami issue. However, compared to Kambarami, Chigora has managed to attend ward meetings called by the residents,” he said.
Ndlovu added that the residents had highlighted several service delivery issues that had to be addressed by council “ranging from road maintenance, streetlights are no longer functioning and council property vandalism.”