Councillors Emmanuel Chinanzvavana and Fanny Tembo were fired for failing to attend full three consecutive council meetings. During the time of the meetings, the two were in custody on allegations of abducting and murdering a Zanu PF special councillor, Lancelot Zvirongwe, whose death was ultimately ruled to be suicide.
In a letter dated May 11 2011 to ZRDC chief executive officer Shacky Siyamayambo, Ecaz secretary general Misheck Gapare said the councillors must be reinstated because they were in custody during the time of the meetings.
When the councillors were given bail, they had a 30km restriction from their homes and could not attend council meetings.
“Your actions in dismissing the two councillors suggest partisan and biased conduct on your part and therefore (we) implore on your office to regularise the dismissal of these councillors by reinstating them to their elected offices within the next seven days of this letter,” read the letter.
The letter was copied to the Minister of Local Government Ignatious Chombo. Ecaz said it was disturbing to note that although some councillors failed to attend three consecutive meetings, they were never reprimanded or dismissed.
“We therefore take the view that you acted contrary to your mandate in terms of Section 32 of the Rural District Councils Act (Chapter 29:13),” says the letter.
Another letter from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights shows that Siyamayambo was notified that the two could not attend council meetings due to bail condition restrictions.
“While our clients are alive and dedicated to their duties as councillors, please be advised that they would not be able to attend the said meeting due to the fact that they are bound by a bail order of the High Court which bars them from travelling 30km from Banket.”
Efforts to get a comment from Siyamayambo were fruitless.