THE opposition MDC-T has thrown its weight behind its five Bulawayo councillors including deputy mayor, Gift Banda, and threatened to take legal action against government to reverse their suspension.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Banda and his fellow MDC-T councillors Charles Moyo (ward 9), James Sithole (ward 7), Mzama Dube (ward 25) and Reuben Matengu (ward 21), were on Tuesday suspended by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on allegations of corruption.
Kasukuwere said a government probe team recently deployed to Bulawayo implicated several councillors in shady land deals and tender scams.
He said an independent tribunal will be constituted in the next two weeks to investigate the suspended councillors and others who were not suspended, amid revelations that only five councillors had a clean bill.
MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday dismissed the suspensions as politically-motivated, adding Kasukuwere always wanted to find ways to weaken the opposition-led council.
“Definitely, we are going to court because the suspensions are politically-motivated and have nothing to do with alleged corruption. It is a way by Kasukuwere as political commissar of Zanu PF to try and weaken the MDC-T in Bulawayo,” he said.
“We stand by our councillors and the deputy mayor and we know that a fair court will find them not guilty. It is Kasukuwere himself who is corrupt and he was fingerpointed by (President Robert) Mugabe recently as having engaged in corruption,” Mwonzora said.
The local authority has on several occasions clashed with Kasukuwere over various issues, including late approval of council’s 2016 budget. But, Kasukuwere also accused city fathers ofbeing corrupt, turning themselves into land barons, bullies and of having a lackadaisical approach to council business.
“BCC was the second last council in the country to get its budget approved — 212 days after the statutory deadline. Even then, the approval was conditional. Imagine that we had to write and give a deadline in order to get the council to submit the document,” Kasukuwere said.