Bulawayo Mayor defies his own party MDC

Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni

BULAWAYO Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni has thrown into the drain attempts by his party MDC-Alliance to reinstate embattled former Deputy Mayor Mr Tinashe Kambarami, in a latest twist that shows fissures within the opposition party.

Mr Kambarami was shown the door after High Court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that his election as councillor during the 2018 elections was in violation of Section 119 (2) (e) of the Electoral Act following his conviction of theft.

Mr Kambarami appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court but after consultations the local authority’s lawyers, Coghlan and Welsh wrote to his lawyers, Samp Mlaudzi and Partners noting that the notice of appeal did not necessarily overturn the High Court’s declaratory order.

Last week, however, the MDC-A provincial leadership in Bulawayo, after consulting the national leadership attempted to coerce Clr Mguni to reinstate Mr Kambarami through a letter penned by the secretary, Alderman Enrst Rafomoyo claiming consultations with the party’s national leadership had led them to reach the decision. Ironically, Ald Rafomoyo serves under Clr Mguni in council. Responding to the matter, Clr Mguni refused to act on the party directive, pitting him directly with his leaders.

“I am in receipt of your letter dated 14 October 2019, contents of which are acknowledged. I have sought comments from the national secretary of local government, Honourable Senator Mudzuri, whose position is that since the matter is sub judice we cannot comment or discuss the state of Clr Kambarami at the moment,” reads the Mayor’s response.

In the letter dated 14 October, Ald Rafomoyo had said that after consultations it was agreed that Mr Kambarami remains the substantive Deputy Mayor, hence should be reinstated.

“After taking into consideration all the developments around the above matter, specifically the High Court ruling, the Supreme Court appeal communication and interpretation from Councillor Kambarami’s lawyers, the challenge from Mthwakazi Republic Restoration Movement and the opinion from the council lawyers, the position of the party in consultation with national leadership is that he remains the Deputy Mayor with the same conditions, privileges and benefits until the appeal is finalised by the Supreme Court, please be guided accordingly,” reads the letter which was also copied to the party’s secretary-general, Mr Charlton Hwende, national chairperson Ms Thabitha Khumalo, the provincial chairperson Ald James Sithole, the secretary for local government Engineer Elias Mudzuri and the council chief whip Councillor Silas Chigora.

Party sources revealed that they were moves to summon Clr Mguni before the party’s provincial executive committee to whip him into line after his refusal to reinstate Mr Kambarami.

“The provincial leadership which is largely behind the former Deputy Mayor now wants him (Mayor) to be brought to book for his continued insubordination regarding the Kambarami issue. However, Clr Mguni has the backing of the party’s vice-president, Professor Welshman Ncube hence we will see how this ends,” said the source.

The sources said the latest fight was also an indication of the fragility of the partners that form the MDC-Alliance.

“We must know that the mayor came from Welshman Ncube’s MDC while Kambarami was from the Chamisa camp. It seems that has not died down and those from Chamisa camp still see Clr Mguni as an ‘unworthy’ beneficiary who should be grateful to the main MDC for his position,” added the source.

Mr Kambarami was in July last year convicted of theft by Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Ms Sharon Rosemani, under case number CRB 1981/18. He was fined $80 or 18 days in prison for stealing an extension cord from an electrician he had hired to work at his offices. Justice Mabhikwa said Kambarami’s failure to notify his party and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was in itself an act of dishonesty and an illegality, which rendered his subsequent election a nullity. The ruling followed an application by 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement Trust, through its lawyer Mr Godfrey Nyoni of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners seeking an order nullifying Clr Kambarami’s election as councillor for Ward 3 and the city’s Deputy Mayor.

Source – Sunday News