Former mayor Kombayi, MDC-T councilor get reprieve

Bulawayo High court judge Justice Nicholas Matonsi yesterday granted an interim relief barring declaration of by-elections in wards belonging to former Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and Alderman councilor Kenneth Sithole. The two MDC-T officials were controversially expelled from town house by Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere last month on flimsy grounds of corruption and misconduct.

Former Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi

The development saw Zanu (PF) stalwarts in the city pushing for the two wards to be declared vacant with the view of grabbing them since MDC-T has announced it will not participate in any by-elections ahead of the watershed 2018 general polls. The Morgan Tsvangirai led party say the electoral playing field currently obtaining is uneven and need serious reforms to allow for any free and fair polls.

“Pending the confirmation of the final order, this provisional order shall serve as an Interim order directing that.. the 3rnd and 4th Respondents (Provincial elections officer and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) be and are hereby interdicted from holding by-elections for ward 1 and ward 4, Gweru, until the finalisation of an Application for Review filed by the Applicants and others under case no. HC 637/17,” read part of the judgement passed by Justice Matonsi. 
The judgement further stated that minister Kasukuwere who is the first respondent in the matter, pays the costs of the urgent application on an attoney and client scale.
Kombayi and Sithole who are being represented by a legal team led by Gweru top lawyer Advocate Brian Dube want their expulsions nullified and granted permission to go back to town house.
Alderman Sithole who is also the Gweru District MDC-T chairperson told this reporter that the high court judgement gives them a glimmer of hope that justice will prevail over their disputed expulsions.
“Both of us are innocent and that is why we want permission to go back and work for our wards which are currently reeling from a host of challenges caused by the comatose economy. We thank our legal team and all those who are supporting us in this cause including our party led by president Tsvangirai,” he said.

MDC-T’s Ward 9 Councillor Charles Chikozho is the current mayor for the city after having beat Zanu PF’s Ward 5 Councillor Simon Chapukira of Zanu PF with ten votes to six in elections held to replace Kombayi.
Chikozho is deputised by his MDC-T colleague; Councillor Willard Ndauta of Ward 8 who beat Zanu PF’s Charles Simbi to land the post.

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