Ex-ChiTown mayor wants to buy service car

Maiko wrote to Chitungwiza requesting to acquire the vehicle after being elected as a councillor in Chitungwiza in July 2018.

FORMER Chitungwiza mayor Lovermore Maiko has approached the local authority in a bid to acquire the vehicle he was using during tenure.

The Chitungwiza Municipality has sought guidance over the matter from the Local Government and Public Works ministry.

Maiko wrote to Chitungwiza requesting to acquire the vehicle after being elected as a councillor in Chitungwiza in July 2018.

He served as mayor until March 2022 before he was recalled but recovered the seat.

Maiko was later suspended on allegations of misconduct after serving for approximately four years at the municipality.

Addressing an ordinary meeting held at the Chitungwiza Municipality this week, town clerk Japson Nemuseso said Maiko requested council approval on January 30 this year to buy the mayoral vehicle or any other vehicle that would be available in its place.

“It is on the basis of his service to council as mayor for the periods mentioned above that he has applied on 30 January 2024.

“He applied that he be granted permission by the council to purchase the mayoral vehicle which he used when he was the mayor, or if it is no longer available any other vehicle in its place,” Nemuseso said.

Chitungwiza municipality spokesperson Tafadzwa Kachiko yesterday said: “The council resolved to consult the minister of Local Government and Public Works on the matter. It will, therefore, be guided by his response on the way forward.”

However, according to the legal opinion prepared by Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners seen by NewsDay, Maiko’s request was not unreasonable and was in accordance with well-established practice and falls within the category of matters where local authorities have been permitted to exercise wide discretion by the relevant ministry.

It also noted a similar application by former acting mayor Kiven Mutimbanyoka who also sought authority to acquire the mayoral vehicle and it was granted.

“Thus, a precedent was set by council. In our considered view Mr Maiko did not only serve longer, his service was also lawful as compared to that of Mr Mutimbanyoka whose service was nullified by the court. This precedent which council set puts Mr Maiko's request in good stead.

“Further, and in any case, there is nothing at law which prevents the council from considering such request favourably.

“It appears that there was a general trend where local authorities were making similar requests to the responsible minister for outgoing mayors or chairpersons to purchase motor vehicles.”

The law firm also noted that the government through the minister has authorised local authorities to sell vehicles to 10 outgoing mayors subject to affordability.

“In any case the decision whether or not to sell such vehicles is a matter of contract. Council is permitted to enter into contract on conditions that it considers beneficial to the local authority. So, it is up to council to enter into such agreement. There is no law that prevents it from doing so.”

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