Three suspended Chinhoyi councillors, who include mayor Claudius Nyamhondoro and his deputy Willie Nyambi, have taken Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to court demanding their immediate reinstatement to their previous positions.
The trio — who also include Ward 6 councillor Owen Charuza — were suspended between late last year and early this year on allegations of misconduct.
But their lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara in an urgent High Court chamber application filed last week demanded the lifting of the suspension since the 45-day deadline had lapsed without any disciplinary hearings being conducted against his clients.
According to the Urban Councils Act, Chombo was supposed to hold hearings and determine whether the officials were guilty of the offence levelled against them within 45 days of their suspension.
“The respondent (Chombo) has since failed to hold a legitimate hearing and/or determine the guilt of any of the applicants in this matter within the statutory limit of 45 days. Consequently, the respondent’s suspensions are no longer valid at law,” reads the affidavit.
“Despite demand, the respondent (Chombo) has refused and/or neglected to lift the applicants’ suspension and we now seek redress in this honourable court.”
Nyamhondoro was suspended in December last year while Nyambi and Charuza were suspended in January this year.
“The applicants are suffering a continuing wrong and they are on an indefinite suspension. They have failed to attend council meetings, represent the rights and interests of their constituents as well as receive the allowances that are due and payable to them,” Zhuwarara said.
He said Chombo had no legitimate reason at law to maintain the councillors’ suspension since he had not communicated anything to them.
“As it stands, the applicants are on an indefinite suspension which is illegal and improper. It is just and equitable that the costs in this matter be awarded to the applicants due to the fact that this application has been necessitated by the respondent’s illegal conduct,” Zhuwarara added.