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Gwanda Mayor fears for his life

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Suspended Gwanda mayor Lionel De Necker yesterday said he now feared for his life after an unidentified man on Wednesday night threatened to deliver summons for him to appear at a hearing.

Report By Richard Muponde, Senior Court Reporter

The man claimed he had been sent by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

De Necker is under suspension for allegedly defying Chombo’s order to appoint a suspected Zanu PF sympathiser, Priscilla Nkala, as the town’s chamber secretary.

Chombo ordered the MDC mayor to appear before a disciplinary committee.

But De Necker challenged the minister at the Bulawayo High Court where Justice Lawrence Kamocha stopped Chombo from conducting the hearing.

De Necker’s lawyer Kucaca Phulu told NewsDay his client now feared for his life following the alleged mysterious visit to his home by a stranger who claimed to be Chombo’s emissary.

The mayor said he believed the minister had sent the man to intimidate him.

“The man phoned me at about 10.30pm and told me that he was from the ministry and had summons for me to appear before a board of inquiry on December 19,” De Necker said.
“I told him I was not in Gwanda, but in Bulawayo.

“He said he would see me today (yesterday) in Bulawayo and give me the summons.

“However, he did not come, but left the summons with my personal assistant in Gwanda.

“The man arrived in Gwanda on Tuesday evening and asked my PA to show him where I live.

“I now fear for my life. If a minister can send people to my house during the night, I don’t know whom he will send after this and what they will do.

“The matter is before the courts and he (Chombo) was interdicted from going ahead with the hearing. This shows Chombo has upped his game of intimidating me.” He said Gwanda Town Council would not reverse the resolution it made on Nkala, as everyone participated and agreed on that position.

Phulu said Chombo’s actions were “improper and a blatant disregard of the court order and also the rules of natural justice”.

Contacted for comment, Chombo said: “I am in China. Hold on, phone me on Thursday next week. I will be back in the country then.”

Justice Kamocha last month interdicted Chombo from convening De Necker’s hearing until the court has heard another case in which the mayor is challenging the validity of his suspension.

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