MDC-T grumbles over Byo mayor’s dismissal

Gift Banda

MDC-T has reacted angrily to the recent expulsion of Bulawayo deputy mayor, Gift Banda and ward 21 councillor, Reuben Matengu, on charges of gross misconduct.


Gift Banda
Gift Banda

Banda and Matengu received their marching orders on Friday following recommendations by an independent tribunal appointed by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere late last year.

The two have been on suspension since September last year.

Local Government secretary, George Mlilo, confirmed the development.

“Yes, the two have been fired. The tribunal has forwarded its recommendations to us on the two affected individuals. While we are yet to get to the finer details of the recommendations, the underlying issue is that they have been relieved of their duties with immediate effect,” he was quoted as saying.

MDC-T Bulawayo deputy provincial spokesperson, Felix Magalela Sibanda, yesterday accused Kasukuwere of plotting the councillors’ expulsion to gain control of the city.

“We have received the dismissal of Banda and Matengu as councillors of Bulawayo without surprise though we are apprehensive. We were waiting for this dreaded unconstitutional violation of labour laws, the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Urban Councils Act,” he said.

“This is because Kasukuwere fast-tracked the Local Government Amendment Bill last year for the purpose to be vindictive and punitive against the MDC-T-led councils. We have seen how Harare and Gweru mayors have been persecuted for no reason other than being MDC-T mayors,” he said.

“The so-called tribunal is his creation to produce intended results, hence, MDC-T, residents and progressive political formations will not allow this naked victimisation rule the day. Any law creation must be progressive not retrogressive as it were. The amendment is/was aimed at MDCT-led councils. Therefore, the party and its massive membership will not be intimidated by vindictive minister, who uses his office for Zanu PF agendas.

Banda was found guilty of unprocedurally getting a lease for the construction of a social club at Hume Park, but was exonerated in the purchase of a piece of land at Ascot Racecourse for construction of town houses.

It has, however, emerged that Banda was not allocated a stand at Hume Park after council indicated that there was no available land in the suburb.

Matengu was found guilty of buying a residential stand in Southwold suburb at a concessionary rate of 60% of the purchase and reselling it at a higher price.

Kasukuwere last week fired Gweru mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi and councillor, Kenneth Sithole on similar charges of gross misconduct.