LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo was yesterday evasive on the course of action he will take against Gwanda Town Council for defying his one-week ultimatum on the appointment of a chamber secretary.
Report by Richard Muponde
Chombo ordered the council to appoint Priscilla Nkala, an alleged Zanu PF sympathiser, as chamber secretary.
Over a fortnight ago, Chombo threatened to fire Gwanda acting mayor Sithokozile Sibanda if the council did not appoint Nkala by Easter.
However, the local authority defied Chombo’s ultimatum on the grounds that the case was still before the courts.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chombo could not commit himself on the matter.
“I have no details about the issue as I am not at home. Phone the permanent secretary (Killian Mpingo). What he will say will be the answer. I will only be at home on Monday.”
However, efforts to get a comment from Mpingo were fruitless yesterday as he was said to be out of office and was not reachable on his mobile phone.
Last week, Gwanda acting mayor Sibanda said there was nothing the council could do about Nkala’s appointment as the matter was before the courts.
“This matter is still in the courts,” she said. “We do not talk about it in our council meetings because there is nothing to talk about. As council there is nothing we can do about the appointment. We are waiting for the judgment from the courts. What do you want me to do? I can’t overrule the courts.”
Nkala was due to be appointed before February 21, but the local authority blocked her appointment despite Chombo’s directive.
Gwanda municipality and Chombo have been at each other’s throats for the past year over the appointment of Nkala, leading to the suspension of the town’s mayor, Lionel De Necker.
De Necker has challenged his suspension and the matter is still pending at the High Court.