BY FARAI MATIASHE/TAFADZWA KACHIKO
Chitungwiza mayor Lovemore Maiko (MDC Alliance) was severely assaulted by suspected Zanu PF activists who stormed council offices yesterday as he tried to serve Town Clerk George Makunde with a letter of suspension.
The opposition MDC claimed that over 100 suspected Zanu PF members stormed Town House and assaulted Maiko while he was serving Makunde with his suspension letter.
Makunde, a Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial executive member, stands accused of gross insubordination, refusal to obey lawful instructions, gross incompetence, falsification of personal and council documents and absence from duty.
In a statement, MDC deputy national spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the alleged assault.
“He was attacked inside the town clerk’s office by over 100 Zanu PF thugs brought to the Town House in several trucks by several known land barons who are working in cahoots with Makunde to loot council land by prejudicing bona fide home-seekers. The town clerk went for the jugular and brought in Zanu PF bouncers to physically assault the mayor,” he said.
Tamborinyoka said the mayor was seeking medical attention at a private hospital.
He said Makunde last week engineered trumped-up charges against the mayor and his deputy after he got wind that council was planning to suspend him.
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“False allegations have been raised against the mayor that he allocated his wife a stand when there is no iota of truth in the allegation. The police who arrested the mayor and his deputy investigated the allegations and freed them after concluding that the two had no case to answer,” Tamborinyoka said.
He claimed that police were watching as Zanu PF supporters besieged council offices.
“The MDC notes with concern the systematic political onslaught and vicious assault on MDC-run local authorities in a bid to overturn the democratic will of the people as expressed in the last election,” he said.
Contacted for comment yesterday, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was yet to get details of the incident.
“I still do not have facts about the matter you are referring to,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered.
NewsDay later obtained a copy of Makunde’s suspension letter, which was served in terms of section 139 (3) (a) of the Urban Councils Act.
The letter read: “This letter serves to inform you that you are hereby suspended from all your duties as the Chitungwiza town clerk. This suspension is with effect from September 2 and its duration shall be as stated in section 139 (5) (a).”
“Council has good cause to believe that you committed the following serious offenses. Acts of inconsistent with your statutory obligations, habitual absence from duty, gross insubordination and refusal to obey given lawful instructions.”
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) director Alice Kuveya applauded Makunde’s suspension.
“We have been advocating for this action to be taken. We are glad that mayor Maiko has heard our cries. Chitrest had become a lone voice, calling for Makunde’s ouster. We hope that the Local Government ministry will not give us another town clerk from nowhere. We want to be involved in the selection process of the new clerk,” she said.
Makunde’s personal assistant professed ignorance over the suspension.
“I have nothing that I know. When the mayor came here I was busy,” he said.
Maiko was not reachable for comment.