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Monitor - Issue 186
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
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Chombo bites the dust again
The High Court
has described the appointment of “Special Interest Councillors”
in Bulawayo by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo a few months
before the expiry of the council’s term as “unreasonable”.
Justice Meshack Cheda delivered the blow to Hon. Chombo last week
when he concurred with a resident who had dragged the minister to
court over the appointments. Alick Gumede, a Pelandaba resident
and an official of Bulawayo
Progressive Residents’ Association, took Hon. Chombo to
court questioning the motive behind the appointments.
Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda and Associates, a member of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, successfully argued that the appointments
were not motivated by a desire to cater for special interest groups
who ideally should benefit from such appointments. Justice Cheda
agreed with Gumede that the appointments were “irrational”.
As a result,
Gatsha Mazithulela and Siphiwe Ncube, who were appointed by Hon.
Chombo in February, will not be allowed to participate in council
proceedings as councillors. Justice Cheda ruled that it did not
make sense for Hon. Chombo to appoint “Special Interest Councillors”
at the last hour since they would not contribute much.
will be served by these appointments. It is too late (to make the
appointments),” ruled Justice Cheda, before tearing Hon. Chombo’s
reasoning on the matter.
of the first respondent’s (Hon. Chombo) action raises questions
from any person properly applying his mind to the matter. It is
clear that the council’s term will come to an end before the
appointees even understand the business of council and as such cannot
be in a position to be of any benefit to the special group for which
the appointments are made,” said Justice Cheda delivering
the ruling. Councillors are already winding business as their term
comes to an end in a few months. President Robert Mugabe has indicated
that he will call for a general election on or before June 29. Gumede
had argued that the appointment of the “Special Interest Councillors”
would only serve to milk the broke city and would be a waste of
ratepayers’ money as Mazithulela and Ncube would be paid allowances
for doing nothing.
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