High Court stops Bulawayo by-election

Source: High Court stops Bulawayo by-election | The Sunday News

High Court stops Bulawayo by-election
Tinashe Kambarami

Vusumuzi Dube and Thembekile Ntuliki, Sunday News Reporters
WARD Three residents in Bulawayo will have to wait a little longer for a by-election to elect a substantive councillor after the High Court granted a provisional order barring the holding of the polls until the finalisation of a matter where former Deputy Mayor, Tinashe Kambarami is challenging his recall.

In June last year, Mr Kambarami was in the eye of a storm when he turned up at a full council meeting demanding that he be recognised as the Deputy Mayor following his acquittal by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had reinstated the former Ward Three councillor as Deputy Mayor in May, but the ruling was of no effect as he was recalled by his parent party, the MDC-T.

In the latest order issued last week, High Court Judge Justice Maxwell Takuva ordered that a by-election cannot be declared until the finalisation of the High Court application challenging his recall.

Mr Kambarami – who was represented by Mr Maqhawe Mpofu of Samp Mlaudzi and Partners – had cited the City of Bulawayo as the First Respondent, MDC-T (second respondent), Minister of Local Government and Public Works (third respondent), President Mnangagwa (fourth respondent), the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (fifth respondent) and Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube as the sixth respondent.

“Pending the finalisation of the application for a declaratur in case number HC 989/21, 5th Respondent be and is hereby interdicted from proclaiming or announcing a date for holding by–election for Ward 3 in Bulawayo,” reads the order by Justice Takuva.

ZEC, last month, had already withdrawn the notice of a by-election at the ward after noting the urgent chamber application challenging the existence of the vacancy. In his challenge against the recall (case number HC 989/21), Mr Kambarami argues that when he was recalled he was not a councillor so the move was not of any effect.

“On 11 September 2020, through a letter, the third respondent indicated that he had received a letter from the second respondent’s secretary-general giving a notice and stating that I, and some others were expelled from the party.

According to the letter of the third respondent’s, the second respondent’s letter did not say that we were being recalled, it merely said we were expelled.

“The second respondent’s letter was not annexed to the letter of 11 September 2020. To that extent, such a letter would not comply with the requirements of Section 278(1) as read with Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution to allow the second respondent to recall me. The recall is thus null and void as the letter does not suffice for those purposes,” reads part of the application.

Mr Kambarami further claimed he was not aware of his expulsion and has never been served with the letter informing him of his expulsion.

“Neither the first nor the second or third respondent have shown me this letter or have I been informed of the reasons for my dismissal from the party.

To this day I do not know the supposed reasons for my dismissal. I was neither notified of any disciplinary action against me nor was I given a fair opportunity to make representations in defence of any charges against me,” he claims in his application.

The former Deputy Mayor was initially stripped of his position after High Court Judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that the election of Kambarami was in violation of Section 119 (2) (e) of the Electoral Act following his conviction of theft.

However, in a judgment issued by Justice Martin Makonese sitting with Justice Mabhikwa, the theft conviction was thrown out with the judge concurring with Kambarami’s lawyers, that the lower court erred in taking a casual approach to the guilty plea proffered by the appellant.

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