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Ministers clash over mayor’s suspension

Zvidzai called for the amendment of the Urban Council’s Act, which he said was being abused by the Local Government minister.

Chombo last week fired De Necker after he refused to appoint an alleged Zanu-PF functionary, a Mrs P Nkala, as a Gwanda Municipality Chamber secretary.

The minister accused De Necker of insubordination and defying his orders, but Zvidzai on Friday told The Standard that the mayor could still go to work.

“Chombo is going wild shooting at everybody using the Act. The guy still can’t face the reality that his Zanu-PF party is no longer running the country’s urban councils,” Zvidzai said in an interview.

Zvidzai said the decision to fire the Gwanda mayor was done without consultation.

“The dismissal is a nullity and the mayor should go back to work,” he said.

In a letter in our possession dated April 4 and addressed to De Necker, Chombo suspended the mayor for alleged insubordination.

“Following your deliberate defiance of my directive of 30 November 2011 issued in terms of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter29: 15), directing council to appoint Mrs P Nkala as the substantive Chamber Secretary for Gwanda Municipality as approved by the Local Government Board, I hereby, in terms of Section 114 of the afore-cited Act, suspend you from being a councillor for Gwanda Municipality with immediate effect,” said Chombo.

“After you received my directive, you proceeded to challenge the activities of the Local Government Board appointed to carry out its responsibilities as specified in the Urban Councils Act. Furthermore, you even questioned the credibility of the Local Government Board which was setup in terms of the law thus undermining the powers of both the Minister and Board.”

De Necker, who was suspended without pay, is not supposed to conduct any business within or outside council premises.

Chombo copied De Necker’s suspension letter to Matabeleland South Zanu PF governor, Angeline Masuku, provincial administrator, David Mpofu and town clerk George Mlilo.

Early this year, Chombo suspended Mutare mayor, Brian James on allegations of misconduct. Chombo claimed the suspension of James was in the interest of ensuring sound local governance for effective and efficient service delivery in Mutare City.

MDC to challenge De Necker’s dismissal

Yesterday, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC said it would challenge the dismissal of De Necker.

“We will use every avenue available, politically and legally, to make sure that this unjust act is overturned,” MDC organising secretary, Qhubani Moyo, said.

He accused Chombo of trying to destabilise the Gwanda council, dominated by the former opposition. Chombo could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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