Kombayi, Sithole cleared by High Court

Gweru - High Court judge Justice Nicholas Matonsi has cleared former mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and Ward 4 councilor Kenneth Sithole of criminal abuse of office charges that saw them being expelled from town house by Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere earlier this year.

Former Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi

The judgement and ruling had been reserved by Justice Matonsi who has now ruled in favour of Kombayi and Sithole.

The two city fathers have also been awarded with a decision to go back to council without loss of allowances. The other councilors who won a similar case early this year were paid $4 500 in allowances dated back from the time they were suspended by Kasukuwere.

The High court ruling will go heavy on the struggling council which will now have to part with substantial amounts of rate-payers’ money to pay Kombayi and Sithole their allowances. The burden could have been avoided had Kasukuwere listened to legal minds that saw the expulsion of Kombayi and Sithole as illegal.

Represented by Lawyer Brian Dube, the two city fathers had sought to reverse Kasukuwere’s decision to bar them from council.

Lawyer Dube was on record saying the conviction and punishment meted out by the Tribunal on Sithole and Kombayi was “atrocious as it proved to be selective and handed down in retrospect and against all tenants of legislation.”

For example, Alderman Sithole was punished for allegedly assaulting a council employee when that case was thrown out by the magistrates courts and he was acquitted.

The High Court halted the holding of by-elections in Sithole and Kombayi’s wards pending finalization of their appeal against the Tribunal.The discredited tribunal was led by Isaac Muzenda, who has been described as a Zanu (PF) apologist.  The implication of the judgement by Justice Matonsi will now mean that Kombayi and Sithole will attend the next full council meeting.

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