Zanu PF blocks ChiTown mayoral elections

Reginald Mashingaidze

ZANU PF Chitungwiza councillor Reginald Mashingaidze has filed an urgent High Court application seeking to stop the holding of mayoral elections in the dormitory town.

Mashingaidze, who is represented by Lovemore Madhuku, cited the Local Government ministry, Chitungwiza Municipality and acting mayor Kiven Mutimbanyoka as respondents.

“Having failed to elect a mayor within a month of vacancy arising, the councillors of Chitungwiza no longer have legal powers to meet and elect a successor under section 103(4) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15). It means that the third respondent (Mutimbanyoka), as the current acting mayor, is entitled to remain in that office for the entire unexpired period of the former mayor,” Mashingaidze submitted.

“Alternatively, Local Government may use section 316 to give direction on filling of the vacancy. Under no circumstances may councillors purport to sit and elect mayor. In any event we are just 10 months away from a general election.”

Chitungwiza has not had a substantive mayor following the recall of Lovemore Maiko by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-Alliance in March this year.

Several attempts to hold elections hit a snag and on October 10 six councillors were suspended by the Local Government ministry for convening an alleged illegal meeting that reinstated Maiko.

“There is now disruption of smooth running of Chitungwiza by councillors who keep on demanding an election of substantive mayor. For this reason, the declaratory orders sought have practical bearing on the operations of Chitungwiza,” Mashingaidze added.

“Some councellors are threatening to take the law into their own hands by sanctioning unlawful meetings and disrupting lawful meetings only for the purpose of wanting to elect a mayor under non-existent provisions of the Urban Councils Act.”

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