TWO MDC-T councillors were fired from Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC) for alleged non-attendance of three consecutive full council meetings by the council’s chief executive officer in contravention of the Rural District Councils Act, which states that only the Local Government minister can fire elected councilors.
The two councillors, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana (Ward 23) and Fanny Tembo (Ward 22), were served with letters copied to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) declaring their seats vacant.
The letters written by ZRDC chief executive officer Shacky Siyamayambo and dated October 19 read: “You last attended a full council meeting on 21 December 2009. You did not attend full council meetings on 31 March 2010, 1 July 2010 and 30 September 2010. You are therefore advised that according to the Rural District Councils Act (Chapter 29:13) Section 32, you are disqualified as councillor for the ward in Zvimba Rural District Council. By copy of this letter ZEC is advised of the vacancies.”
Chinanzvavana said they were challenging their dismissal and have since instructed a lawyer to institute their defence.
He said the whole thing smells of political malice.
“I believe we are being deliberately targeted because we are the only MDC councillors in (President Robert) Mugabe’s rural home district,” said Chinanzvavana.
“The time we are alleged to have not been attending council meeting is the same time we were incarcerated on allegations of abducting and murdering a Zanu Pf special interest councillor. Our lawyer wrote to council on the matter and even when we got bail we could not travel for council business because we had a 30-kilometre restriction from our homes.”
Both Chinanzvavana and Tembo spent nearly six months in Chinhoyi Remand Prison on allegations of abducting and killing Zanu PF special interest councillor Lancelot Zvirongwe until they got bail from the High Court.
Chinanzvavana added that the law was being selectively applied on them as some Zanu PF councilors had missed more meetings than them even when they were not in prison.
“I am aware of Zanu PF councillors who have not been attending meetings without authority for more than three consecutive meetings and nothing has happened to them. We are ready to engage in a legal fight to protect our interests,” he pointed out.
Siyamayambo confirmed the dismissal saying as the administrator he had to take action against the councillors’ non attendance of meetings and if they were aggrieved they should seek recourse from the minister or courts.
“The letter was to inform them of the position. For being absent with or without authority you get disqualified,” Siyamayambo said. “Incarceration does not allow them not to do council work. If they are aggrieved they can seek recourse from the minister or the courts. Administratively, there was no way I could keep quiet on the issue, I had to take action.”
The chief executive officer said he wrote to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo after he had notified the councilors of their dismissal.
Chombo has since the 2008 harmonised elections fired several councillors from MDC-T on various allegations ranging from corruption to maladministration. He has fired two mayors in Bindura, five in Rusape, one in Chitungwiza and has suspended seven in Harare implicated in a housing allocation scandal. –– Staff Writer.