The High Court has ordered the reinstatement of four Harare MDC-T councillors fired by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last year for alleged corruption.
Justice Bharat Patel ruled the decision by the probe team, assembled by Chombo to investigate the councillors, was based on a “grossly irrational” judgment.
The councillors, Sulas Machetu, Paul Gorekore, Maxwell Katsande and Johnson Zaranyika, were fired in December 2010 for allegedly evicting council tenants from their houses fraudulently.
Chombo also accused the quartet of allegedly accepting residential stands that were “unprocedurally allocated to them from outside their wards”.
Part of the judgment delivered on Tuesday by Justice Bharat Patel reads:
“In short, the second respondent’s findings of guilt in relation to all four applicants were so grossly irrational in their defiance of logic that no reasonable person applying his mind to the matter could possibly have arrived at those decisions. The applicants be and are hereby declared to be councillors of the City of Harare and the respondents shall bear the costs of this application on the ordinary scale.”
The judge said Chombo acted irrationally by relying on unsustainable findings by his probe team and failing to exercise his own discretion in the matter.
“It is fairly clear that the first respondent (Chombo) did not exercise his own discretion in the matter and that his decision to dismiss the applicants was grossly unreasonable.
“In the result, it is ordered that the decision by the first respondent to dismiss the applicants as councillors of the City of Harare be and is hereby set aside.”
Chombo was not reachable for comment yesterday. But the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe celebrated the judgment that comes only a week after two other fired councillors, Warship Dumba and Casper Takura, were also acquitted over similar allegations.
The two, fired by Chombo early this year, were accused of fraud.