BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA / NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE fight for the control of affairs at the Bulawayo City Council yesterday took a new turn after acting mayor, Tinashe Kambarami, moved to suspend town clerk Christopher Dube on allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
Councillors were billed to meet today to deliberate on Dube’s fate following their request for an extra-ordinary meeting, where the matter was expected to be
Kambarami wrote to Dube yesterday advising him that “council” had suspended him from duty following a number of allegations levelled against him by the city fathers.
Dube, however, hit back, describing the suspension as a nullity and vowing he would report for duty as normal.
Information obtained by the Southern Eye yesterday suggests that Dube’s suspension stems from allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of ward retention funds, among other improprieties.
Councillors accuse Dube and fellow directors, including Simela Dube (engineering services), of misconduct and inefficiency, in particular relating to tender and procurement issues in the local authority.
Dube survived an almost similar ouster last year and had to be rescued by central government.
The councillors, who are the ones who drew up the charge sheet, also blame the debilitating water crisis that faces the city of Bulawayo on Dube’s ineptitude.
Bulawayo is currently enduring days on end without water as council is currently undertaking rehabilitation works at one of the council’s water distribution facility, the Criterion Waterworks.
Kambarami advised that Dube, as a result of the suspension, would be barred from entering council premises and ordered him to surrender all council property pending finalisation of the matter.
“I write to inform you that you are suspended from your duties as (town clerk) … with immediate effect. This suspension is made in terms of the Urban Councils Act section 139(3)(a) that relates to the conditions of employment of a town clerk,” Kambaranmi wrote.
“This suspension is without benefits and you are, hereby, ordered to surrender all your council property in your possession.”
He added: “While you are on suspension, you will not enter any department, section, unit, office or facility. Your failure to strictly comply with these requirements may result in additional disciplinary action being taken against you.”
Dube, in response, told Souther Eye the suspension was null and void.
“I have, indeed, received the letter from the acting mayor, where he purports to suspend me. For the record, I did not read that letter as it is an illegal letter and, therefore, is of no force of effect and illegal,” Dube said.
“I was in communication with the mayor (Solomon Mguni), where we were trying to deal with this matter in a proper and orderly manner, which also brings in elements of professionalism. And here we are, someone rushes to write such a letter.”
Dube outlined he could only be suspended by Mguni as he was the only one who was legally mandated to do so.
“I will not listen to anyone. Tomorrow, I am reporting for work as usual. If that suspension letter was coming from the mayor, I would say maybe and consider it. But, for it to come from an acting mayor and have him purport to suspend me is null and void,” Dube charged.