Tempers have reportedly flared up in the Local Government ministry over Minister Ignatius Chombo’s alleged arbitrary dismissals of MDC-T councillors across the country.
Deputy minister Sesel Zvidzai accused Chombo of allegedly embarking on a well-calculated crusade to decimate all MDC-T-run councils through arbitrary expulsion of councillors.
The latest standoff follows Chombo’s expulsion of four Harare councillors recently, whose dismissal was quashed by a High Court judge.
The affected councillors, Sulas Machetu, Maxwell Katsande, Paul Gorekore and Johnson Zaranyika, were accused of evicting tenants from council houses in Glen View, Glen Norah and Highfield. But High Court judge Justice Bharat Patel cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Zvidzai said:“If the courts tell you that you don’t think and you act irrationally, the right thing to do, especially if you are a minister making a living from public funds, is to resign. What he (Chombo) is doing is childish, undemocratic and retrogressive. It’s affecting thousands of residents these councillors are supposed to represent.
“The courts told him he acted irrationally, but he goes ahead and claims to have re-expelled the councillors, what does that mean?”
Part of the High Court ruling handed down last month reads:
“In short, the second respondent (Chombo)’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.”
Chombo, in a notice of appeal, through his lawyers Hussein Ranchhod and Company, said the ruling by the High Court should be set aside.
He argues the High Court erred in ordering the reinstatement of the councillors and wants the Supreme Court to uphold their dismissal.
Last week, Chombo suspended Ward 18 councillor, Exevia Vengesai, on alleged corruption charges and appealed to the Supreme Court against the reinstatement of four other councillors.
So far, Chombo has suspended at least 10 MDC-T councillors in Harare alone on different allegations.