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Kwekwe councillors fight suspension

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2023 at 07:44hrs | Views
TWO Kwekwe City Councillors who were recently suspended for alleged gross misconduct, incompetence and wilful violation of the law have challenged their suspension saying it is "illegal".

Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo suspended former Mayor and Ward 10 Councillor Angeline Kasipo, her Ward 5 counterpart who is also former Deputy Mayor, Melody Chingarande as well as Ward 8 Councillor Edu Makomborero Mlambo.

The trio is facing a number of allegations chief among them altering or tampering with a Government approved budget after they proposed that the 2023 budget which had been approved by Government be implemented in phases.

The council's 2023 budget which proposed to increase tariffs and other service charges by about 400 percent was approved by Government but during a full council meeting, the suspended councillors argued that the budget was weighing heavily on ratepayers and proposed that council stagger its implementation.

Minister Moyo said this was in violation of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) and the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) and suspended the trio.

Kasipo and Chingarande have since written to Minister Moyo seeking reinstatement based on the fact that the suspension is illegal.

Mlambo, a Zanu-PF member said he was not ready to challenge the Government of the day and went on to win the just ended Ward 8 primary elections.

Through their lawyer, Ms Linah Nyamukachi of Pundu and Company Legal Practitioners, Kasipo and Chingarande who are CCC members said their suspension is "illegal" adding that the allegations levelled against them were a "fabrication".

"On the face of it, the allegations against our clients are a clear fabrication. For the record, the alleged council process was in fact a full council meeting duly notified by the town clerk. All parties who were present in the council meeting participated in the agenda set by the town clerk.

We have noted with greatest concern that our clients are being punished for a diverging view," she said.

Ms Nyamukachi also argued that the budget was never reviewed as alleged.

"Our clients only moved a motion on how to implement the approved budget. No changes or alterations to the budget were ever at any point proposed by our clients.

What they proposed was in actual fact meant to improve revenue collection efficiency since efficiency was at 27 percent in September last year," said Ms Nyamukacha.

She said there was no financial prejudice to council that could be attributed to her clients.

"Their proposals were centred on the implementation of the approved budget and nothing else. It must be noted that our clients are representative of their wards and they do what is best for residents," said Ms Nyamukacha.

She said the councillors should be reinstated immediately failure to which she will be left with no option but to take legal action.

"From the incident, it is ironic that the ministry is not respecting the independence of the council as a local authority. We strongly view interference with the internal business of council as illegal.

Our suggestion is that you reinstate our clients without loss of benefits forthwith failing which we shall seek recourse in the law," said Ms Nyamukacha.

Source - The Chronicle