Chombo stops Chitungwiza bid to oust mayor

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Chaos is reigning supreme at the MDC-T-dominated Chitungwiza Municipality after councillors yesterday teamed up to pass a vote of no-confidence on mayor Philemon Chipiyo.

But, the attempt was reportedly blocked by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

Councillors who refused to be named said the no-confidence vote meeting was scheduled for yesterday, but was cancelled following a directive from Chombo.

“There was a notice which was calling for a special meeting today (yesterday) to pass a vote of no-confidence on the mayor, but today there was a letter from the Ministry of Local Government cancelling the meeting, saying the councillors had no such powers (to expel the mayor), and said only him (Chombo) could do so,” he said.

The councillors said they had taken this decision because the mayor did not report back to them on crucial issues.

“He does not tell us what is going on. If he goes to the ministry, he does not report back. Those are some of the reasons. There are more,” another councilor said.

However, some councillors backing the embattled mayor dismissed the “coup attempt” as “misguided and misplaced”, saying there was no provision in the Urban Councils Act for councillors to pass a vote of no confidence on a sitting mayor.

Yesterday, Chipiyo said: “I am not going anywhere. I have not served my full term yet. I was elected by the people so I will wait for the next elections and will only go if I lose my seat.”

Early this month, Chipiyo and his deputy Rangarirai Mutingwende almost engaged in a fistfight, with the mayor saying his powers had been usurped by his subordinate who is allegedly working in cahoots with town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa. The councillors said they would petition Chombo to reverse his decision.