BULAWAYO Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube has taken the Deputy Mayor Councillor Tinashe Kambarami and the city council to court challenging his recent suspension.
Mr Dube was recently violently ejected from his office by Clr Kambarami working closely with Ward Four Clr Silas Chigora as they claimed that they were suspending him from work over a number of allegations including abuse of office.
Mr Dube, through his lawyers Ncube and Partners, filed an application for a declaratur at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order declaring his suspension by Clr Kambarami null and void.
In papers before the court, Clr Kambarami, in his personal capacity and Bulawayo City Council, were cited as respondents.
Mr Dube also wants the respondents to conform to provisions of the law should they decide to institute disciplinary proceedings against him.
In his founding affidavit, Mr Dube said Clr Kambarami acted unlawfully and unreasonably when he suspended him from office.
“Our country is a constitutional democracy and in terms of the new constitutional dispensation, the right to administrative justice is enshrined in the Justiciable Bill of Rights and every person has a right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, impartial and both substantially and procedurally fair.
The respondents are bound by the provisions of the Administrative Justice Act to act reasonably and in a fair manner in taking administrative action, which may affect the rights, interests or legitimate expectations of any person. The first respondent (Clr Kambarami) in casu acted in violation of the law making his conduct unlawful and indeed unreasonable,” he said.
Mr Dube said Clr Kambarami purported to arrogate himself mayoral powers when he suspended him.
“The fact that the office of the mayor and that of the deputy mayor are created by the same Section 103 of the Urban Councils Act, does not mean that the deputy mayor can usurp powers of the mayor.
Of course there are instances when a deputy mayor can lawfully act in the stead of the mayor, but their functions are governed by Section 104 of the Urban Councils Act,” he said.
Mr Dube said it was unreasonable for Clr Kambarami to storm into his office and serve him with an “illegal purported” letter of suspension.
“It was unreasonable and unlawful for the first respondent to storm my office and attempt to serve me with an illegal purported letter of suspension accompanied by four other councillors who committed assault upon me in attempting to forcefully remove me from my office,” he said.
Mr Dube said he has since opened a criminal case against his assailants under CRB2516A&B/19 and the matter is still pending before the courts.
“My constitutional rights were flagrantly violated by first respondent who was acting illegally by taking the law into his own hands and it is for this reason that I have sued him in his personal capacity.
He was certainly acting in a frolic of his own and his conduct was not sanctioned by the second respondent (Bulawayo City Council).
The purported letter of suspension dated 11 July 2019 cannot stand and I submit that I have made out a good case for relief sought under Section 14 of the High Court Act,” he said.
The Town Clerk also wants an order that compels Clr Kambarami to pay the legal costs.
Clr Kambarami suspended Mr Dube and, with the help of other councillors, ejected the Town Clerk from his office before locking it and placing a key blocker.
This was despite advice to Clr Kambarami by Chamber Secretary Mrs Sikhangele Zhou that they had not followed procedure in their actions.
The MDC Alliance councillors had plotted to suspend Mr Dube at an aborted special council meeting but Clr Kambarami accompanied by Clr Silas Chigora went on to suspend the Town Clerk.
Mr Dube has reportedly resisted the meddlesome conduct and overstepping of mandate by MDC Alliance councillors who are interfering in the local authority’s operations.
The Government has since set up a five-member technical team to investigate developments that led to the suspension of Mr Dube. —