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Suspended mayor challenges Chombo

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CHINHOYI — Suspended Chinhoyi mayor Claudius Nyamhondoro has written a letter to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo contesting his suspension which he described as “null and void.”

Nyamhondoro was suspended in December last year for repeatedly defying a ministerial directive over the awarding of the $2,9 million emergency sewer rehabilitation tender.

The suspended mayor’s letter written by his lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara, alleges Chombo’s suspension letter did not cite exact provisions of the Urban Councils Act on which minister’s actions were based.

“It is our view that the suspension of our client is void at law as you failed to particularise the exact provisions in terms of which you base your suspension.

“Your notice of suspension alleges our client presided over a meeting that defied your directive to rescind the resolution to retender the Chinhoyi Municipality Emergency Sewage Rehabilitation project. Your directive is dated 6 December 2011 yet the retendering and awarding of the contract had been done and concluded before 2 December 2011.Clearly your directive was for all intents and purposes overtaken by events,” reads part of the letter.

Chombo suspended Nyamhondoro after the council twice blocked the awarding of a
$2,9 million sewer system overhaul project to a winning bidder, Destiny Ventures, citing the engineering firm’s poor workmanship in a water reticulation system rehabilitation contract it was awarded by the local authority in 2010.

Chombo on December 6 ordered council to rescind the award of the tender to another firm, GEC, but councillors argued the minister’s directive came late as the award had already been communicated to the winning bidder.

The impasse between the council and parent ministry resulted in the mayor’s suspension and subsequent appointment of Makonde district administrator Webster Tembo as acting town clerk.

Chombo has in recent weeks also suspended deputy mayor Willie Nyambi and councillor Owen Charuza, who was acting mayor, for defying the ministerial decree.

In an apparent bid to save the MDC-T-dominated council from further purging, newly-elected acting mayor Busani Dube appears to have yielded to Chombo’s order to rescind the tender award.

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