Nduduzo Tshuma, Political Editor
BULAWAYO deputy Mayor, Tinashe Kambarami, and Ward 4 councillor Silas Chigora yesterday violently ejected Bulawayo City Council Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, from his office after he refused to take a letter “suspending” him from duty.
Clr Kambarami, who is the acting Mayor in the absence of Clr Solomon Mguni who is on study leave in South Africa, accompanied by Clr Chigora, were recording the proceedings as they shoved Mr Dube out of his office at the City Hall after he told them that their actions neither had substance nor legal basis.
They then called for back up in the form of councillors Tawanda Ruzive, Arnold Batirai and Felix Mhaka before Mr Dube left the office which they proceeded to lock up and insert a key blocker.
Efforts by the Chamber Secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou to reason with the councillors that their actions were a flagrant violation of laid down procedures, yielded nothing.
Reached for comment in South Africa, Clr Mguni yesterday dismissed Clr Kambarami’s actions as a non-event and said Mr Dube was still in charge of the city.
The move by Clr Kambarami and the councillors follows a report by this newspaper that MDC Alliance councillors had called for a special council meeting today as part of their plot to suspend Mr Dube who has resisted their meddlesome conduct and overstepping their mandate by interfering in the local authority’s operations.
The councillors are said to be miffed especially by the Town Clerk’s refusal to let them interfere in the distribution of the $5 million ward retention fund, procurement processes and the employment of community groups and control of the subcommittee on allocation of stands and premises for development.
The subcommittee on allocation of stands and premises for development is a subcommittee of the Finance and Development Committee charged with, among other things, the allocation of premises for commercial, industrial stands and leases of council properties.
Informed sources on the matter had told this paper that today’s council meeting was a decoy to clamp down on Mr Dube and send him on suspension without benefits as was the case with the Gweru Town Clerk who was ousted by their colleagues.
Mr Dube confirmed that he was violently removed from his office.
“It’s true they came and I refused to accept their (suspension) letter so officially I continue with my duties as Town Clerk,” he said.
“When they tried to hand me the letter, I refused and told them it had no legal basis and they became violent and started pushing me out of my office. I left when they called for backup of their fellow councillors and they locked my office and put a key blocker.”
Clr Mguni expressed shock at the move by Clr Kambarami and other councillors.
“As far as I know the town clerk is on duty. There is nothing on record warranting his suspension. Just two weeks ago we issued a Press statement on the state of the city and as a collective we agreed that our shortcomings in service delivery were due to the economic hardships that the country is facing. So, just a week later one cannot then accuse the chief executive officer of failing to discharge his duties,” he said.
Clr Mguni also wondered where Clr Kambarami had derived powers to suspend the Town Clerk.
“I have not yet seen the suspension letter, so I wouldn’t know where a deputy Mayor would derive the powers to suspend a Town Clerk,” he said.
“What I knew is that council was supposed to meet tomorrow over a motion by some councillors, but I guess he has decided to go it alone.”
Contacted for comment, the Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing, Cde July Moyo, said he was attending a meeting but would be in the city today.
The letter that Clr Kambarami and company wanted to hand over to Mr Dube started circulating on social media late yesterday.
In the letter, he accused Mr Dube of failing to manage the water crisis in Bulawayo by failing to effectively manage repairs and maintenance works.
Clr Kambarami also accused the Town Clerk of misappropriating the Ward retention fund and paying some contractors in advance without council approval.
He also alleged that Mr Dube violated council procedures when he was awarded an offer letter to mine gold at the Good Hope/Aisleby Farms in 2017.
Clr Kambarami alleged that in the same year, Mr Dube failed to implement council resolutions.
Meanwhile, Clr Kambarami is reportedly pushing for the council meeting to be held to sanitise yesterday’s actions but indications are that some councillors will not attend in protest.