BULAWAYO residents have welcomed a recent High Court ruling directing Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to reinstate deputy mayor Gift Banda, who was initially suspended and later fired from his position early this year on corruption charges.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) chairperson Winos Dube told Southern Eye that the court ruling had vindicated residents, who felt that the corruption charges levelled against Banda were politically-motivated.
“We respect our judiciary system. Right from the word go, we knew the deputy major was innocent, but the unfortunate thing is the struggling residents will be made to foot his benefits which accrued while he was on suspension,” he said.
“We expect all the respondents in the matter to comply with the High Court ruling.”
Justice Martin Makonese last week declared that Banda’s dismissal was illegal and ordered his reinstatement with full benefits.
This followed Banda’s application for an order nullifying the decision of an independent tribunal that found him guilty of misconduct following its investigations into corruption charges laid against the MDC-T-led council.
“When the minister sent a commission of inquiry to Bulawayo, Bura made it clear to the commission that Banda was a mere victim of opposition party struggles.
“You remember, BPRA (Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association), which has been strongly opposed to the minister and the government, suddenly made a lot of noise about Banda’s issue and alleged corruption by the MDC-T councillors.
“When these guys started to see corruption in council following their split, we started to smell a rat.”
Banda declined to discuss the matter, saying: “I do not want to talk about that now.”
In his court challenge, Banda was represented by Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa and Partners.