Mafume, 2 other councillors challenge purported recalls

HARARE – Harare mayor Jacob Mafume and three other councillors have asked a court to nullify their recalls announced by local government minister July Moyo last week.

Mutare councillor Simon Chabuka and Bulawayo councillor Arnold Batirai Dube, who joined Mafume in the High Court application, are arguing that their recalls are unlawful.

The three told the High Court that they are members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Tendai Biti, and as such only he has mandate to recall them.

The three want their recalls to be declared null and void and insist that it was in violation of their constitutional rights.

Moyo last week notified the three local authorities that the PDP had notified him of the trio’s suspension. The PDP was one of the parties in an alliance pact which contested elections in 2018 as MDC Alliance.

Moyo said “the wards the three represented were now vacant because they had joined the Citizens Coalition for Change,” a new party led by Nelson Chamisa.

In an affidavit filed on behalf of his colleagues, Mafume said the letters written to local authorities by Moyo should be declared null and void.

“In so announcing our expulsion by a party other than the PDP led by Biti as its president and Settlement Chikwinya as its secretary general, Moyo’s instruction to the town clerks is invalid as it is based on an illegality,” argued Mafume.

“In this regard, Moyo and those who communicated with him are violating our choice by seeking to ascribe us membership of a political party that is alien to us and is certainly not the PDP led by Biti and Chikwinya that we have always been members of since 2017.”

In 2020, the Supreme Court handed down a judgement which triggered the recall of several elected officials by a faction of the MDC-T party.

In September the same year, Mafume received a letter from Benjamin Rukanda, who claimed to be the PDP secretary general, informing him that he was no longer a party member.

Rukanda also sent letters to the Speaker of Parliament recalling six MPs.

The matter was finally settled by the High Court on April 14, 2021.

The High Court ruled that only authorised representatives of the PDP led by Biti in particular and Chikwinya as the secretary general has the power to act on behalf of PDP.

Justice Martin Mafusire ruled that only Chikwinya could write official communication on matters to do with the party after being authorised by Biti.

Mafume argues that any communication sent to Moyo stating that there were vacancies in ward 17 in Harare, ward 12 in Mutare and ward 24 in Bulawayo is a fraudulent misrepresentation.

The matter is pending.

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