BY RICHARD MUPONDE
THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has fired Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dhlamini from the party and also as a councillor for defying the party’s directive to resign as mayor after contesting the position without approval.
The party had directed Dhlamini not to stand in the mayoral elections, preferring ward 6 councillor Ephias Mambume and ward 3 councillor, Margaret Valley as mayor and deputy, respectively as the duo had already been interviewed in Harare.
However, Dhlamini contested and won the mayoral position and also refused to resign after being ordered by the party to do so.
Dhlamini’s dismissal was communicated in a letter dated February 24 seen by Southern Eye, written by the party secretary-general, Chalton Hwende and copied to the party’s provincial chairperson and Victoria Falls town secretary.
“This letter serves to confirm the termination by the national council of your membership of the party as per the resolution of the national council of November 23, 2018. Your expulsion is in terms of article 5.11(a) of the Movement for Democratic Change constitution as read with the unanimous national council resolution of November 23, 2018. Consequently, the party is immediately invoking the provisions of section 278 (1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution as read with section 129 of the same to have you removed from the position of councillor of the Victoria Falls Municipality,” Hwende wrote.
The development will likely see the party reverting to its previous arrangement of having Valley and Mambume at the helm of the resort town council.
Dhlamini yesterday said he was still to receive the letter, adding that he only saw it on WhatsApp.
“I am still to get that letter. I am eagerly waiting to receive it. I only saw it on WhatsApp, but, as a party, I think there are proper channels of communicating with members not through social media,” Dhlamini said.
Early this month, the MDC suspended Masvingo mayor Collin Maboke and the provincial executive after Maboke defied party directives and challenged party candidate Godfrey Kurauone. The councillors also voted in Zanu PF councillor Wellington Mahwende as deputy.
However, it appears it never rains, but pours for Dhlamini who is also facing charges of abuse of office after he allegedly forged title deeds of a housing stand in 2013 before illegally selling it for US$20 000.
His trial has been set for March 10 before magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa.
Allegations are that during his 2013 term of office as MDC ward 9 councillor, Dhlamini was allocated a residential stand measuring 1 120 square metres at stand number 756 Aerodrome area at 40% discount, which was supposed to be paid for before the lapse of his term of office in 2018.
The terms of the sale, according to circular number 12 of 2016, was that the councillors were prohibited from selling or ceding the lease during their terms of office, and the title deeds could not be issued until the development of the house was complete.
They were only to be given offer letters.
Instead of abiding by the conditions set by the Local Government ministry, Dhlamini sold his unpaid for and undeveloped stand to Memory Buhle Sithole for US$20 000.
The accused corruptly forged title deeds which were used by Sithole to acquire a loan from Cabs.
After the approval, Sithole allegedly made direct payment of US$7 962 (40% discount to council).
Investigations also established that at the time of sale, there had not been any developments on the stand. Dhlamini benefited US$12 038 through the sale.