Residents demand commissioners’ exit

GWERU residents have threatened to demonstrate at Town House today demanding the government-appointed commission running council affairs to leave, as its term had expired.

BY Stephen Chadenga

gweru city council

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairman, Cornelia Selipiwe yesterday confirmed the planned demonstration.

The three-member commission led by Tsunga Mhangami was appointed by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere in August last year following the suspension of 18 Gweru councillors on corruption allegations.

The councillors, who included Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, were suspended on allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds at the local authority, but were later acquitted by the court and ordered to resume their duties.

Kasukuwere, however, declined to reinstate them and has since appealed to the Supreme Court.

The commissioners’ initial term of office expired in November last year before Kasukuwere further extended it.

“We have notified police of the demonstration and tomorrow (today), residents will go into the streets to register their disgruntlement over the continued stay of the commissioners in office,” he said.

“If the minister (Kasukuwere) cannot reinstate the councillors, even if it means appointing other commissioners, so be it, because the current commissioners have outlived their mandate.”

Residents have accused the commissioners of draining council coffers dry through taking huge allowances on accommodation, travel and other living expenses.

Mhangami could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Early this month, suspended town clerk, Daniel Matawu filed a chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging Kasukuwere’s decision to extend the tenure of office of the commissioners.

Matawu said his suspension was null and void, as it was done after the term of office of the commissioners had expired.

“After the expiry of their tenure on November 13, 2015, the caretaker council comprising Mhangami, Mark Choga and Perenyi Chomunorwa had remained in office past their legal mandate. My suspension on January 16, 2016 was, therefore, a nullity,” he said.

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