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High Court declares Harare Commission illegal
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
March 02, 2007

The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) applauds the ruling by the High Court reiterating previous court judgments that the principle of re-appointing commissions is illegal as it infringes on peoples' freedoms to elect their representatives.

Delivering his judgment on 2 March 2007 in a matter between dismissed Town Clerk Nomutsa Mushoma Chideya and the Commission running the affairs of Harare, Justice Lawrence Kamocha said Chideya's application succeeds on the basis of law. Justice Kamocha concurred with previous court judgments and states that he associates himself with them.

These are by Supreme Court Judge Justice Wilson Sandura, in the case of Stevenson v Chombo and Others of 2002, Justice Hungwe’s ruling in the matter between CHRA and Another v RG (HH210 of 2001) and Makarau in the case of Christopher Magwenzi Zvobgo vs. City of Harare and Dominic Muzawazi (HH80 of 2005) Immediately after the judgment Israel Mabhoo, the CHRA Vice-Chairperson today said: "This government has made its own laws which the courts are simply interpreting. They must respect the court judgment. CHRA's position remains that the commission running the City of Harare is illegal. Central Government should have resolved the issue of the illegal commission running Harare a long time ago. It is central government which is breaking the law through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development.

The decision of the court shows the illegality of the commission which has mismanaged the city causing immense suffering to residents. Residents of Harare have repeatedly protested the continued re-appointment of the illegal commission running the affairs of Harare. The commission has acted outside the law and its decisions are invalid. CHRA calls on Chombo to abide by the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15) as read with Section 103 (1) of the Electoral Act which provides for the holding of elections once a vacancy arises in council. The court finds no provision in the Electoral Act or Urban Councils’ Act which states that once commissioners are appointed or re-appointed any general election of councillors which was due is postponed indefinitely. In their application to the High Court, Stanford Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness wanted the High Court to make a declaration on six issues, the first being to declare the reappointment of the commission running the affairs of Harare to serve a fourth term unlawful, null, void and of no force and effect. The defense lawyers wanted the court to declare as null and void the appointment of an enquiring committee to investigate Chideya's suspension. The court was requested to set aside the suspension of the ex-Town Clerk by the commission purporting to be discharging the functions of and powers of a mayor of Harare.

The court was also supposed to invalidate the commission because the commission currently running the City of Harare does not have any authority to make any decision adversely affecting the contractual rights, statutory rights and powers of the applicant (Chideya) in his position and capacity as Town Clerk of the City of Harare. Commissioners Sekesai Makwavarara, Tendai Savanhu, Prisca Mupfumira, Misheck Mahachi, Jameson Kurasha, Justin Mutero Chivavaya, Alfred Simba Jome and Carlison Matafare, and magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, Dominic Muzawazi and Albert Maronge were cited as respondents together with City of Harare and the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Morgan Chiminya Chombo. CHRA receives with caution the court judgment and urges the government abide by the ruling. The Association stand by its values and principles and demands that; 1. Elections to choose a mayor and councillors must be held in Harare immediately 2. All the decisions of the illegal commission led by Makwavarara, in particular on the 2007 City Budget, the unbundling of Harare and other regulations to be set aside and declared null and void. CHRA for Enhanced Civic Participation in Local Government.

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