MDC Alliance takes govt to court over Vic Falls mayor

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THE MDC Alliance has taken Local Government minister July Moyo to court challenging his directive to reinstate
former Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini.

By Richard Muponde

Dlamini was replaced as mayor after councillors elected Rich Mguni who was deputised by Patricia Mwale on Thursday last week on the understanding that he was relinquishing his position effective July 1.

But Moyo last week reinstated Dlamini on the strength of a letter from MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora
directing his reinstatement.

The town had two mayors who were now fighting for the control the municipality with Dlamini declaring that Mguni’s election was a sham and also disowning his resignation letter attributing it to the work of the MDC Alliance leadership.

Mguni on the other hand, with the backing of MDC Alliance leadership, was adamant that he was the new mayor.

MDC Alliance Matabeleland North provincial chairperson and Binga South legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda yesterday said the party did not recognise Dlamini, but Mguni and was, therefore, seeking the court’s opinion over Moyo’s decision.

“We are seeking the opinion of the court on whether the minister’s actions are within the law,” Sibanda said.

He had earlier on defended the move by councillors, arguing that Dlamini was reinstated as councillor, not mayor.

“The former mayor was reinstated to be councillor and not mayor. Mayorship is acquired through election by
councillors. The duly-elected mayor of Victoria Falls Municipality is Rich Mguni,” he said.

Dlamini yesterday said he had started work and had access to his office and mayoral vehicle.

“I am back in the office today. I am raring to go and serve our people. My replacement was illegal. I am happy the
dust has settled after the minister’s intervention. We should now put politics aside and work to provide services to
residents and fulfil the mandate they  have on us,” he said.

Moyo wrote to the municipality on Tuesday nullifying an election conducted by 10 councillors which removed
Dlamini and replaced him with Mguni last Thursday.

The Local Government minister in a letter dated May 12 said: “In terms of section 316, I hereby order that the election of a new mayor of Victoria Falls is nullified and Dlamini continues in the office of mayor.”

Moyo reinstated Dlamini as a councillor for ward 9 last week, guided by a letter written to him by Mwonzora, who is secretary-general of the MDC-T, as per a recent Supreme Court ruling which recognised Thokozani Khupe as the acting party leader. Dlamini had been in the political wilderness since February 24 when the MDC Alliance leadership expelled him on allegations of disrespecting the party.