Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
FORMER Gweru mayor, Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, attended his first full council meeting yesterday following his reinstatement by the High Court as an ordinary councillor at the end of October.
Clr Kombayi, who together with Clr Kenneth Sithole had been contesting their sacking from council, recently won their case after a Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi set aside the decision of an independent tribunal which recommended their sacking.
Justice Mathonsi also ordered that Clrs Kombayi and Sithole be reinstated as mayor and ordinary Clr respectively.
During a full council meeting held at the Town House, Clr Kombayi sat with the rest of the councillors who included Clr Sithole while the current mayor, Clr Charles Chikozho, chaired the meeting. Wearing his mayoral chains and seated at the high table, Clr Chikozho welcomed Clrs Kombayi and Sithole.
“We are now fully constituted since now we have 18 councillors in the room representing all the Wards in the city. We welcome Clr Kombayi and Clr Sithole to this house. This means all the wards now have representation and that is expected to improve service delivery. We fully welcome the participation of the two councillors in debate that will lead to an improved service delivery in the city,” he said.
Clr Kombayi, in an interview after the full council meeting, said he was going to work with Clr Chikozho for the development of the city.
He said it did not matter whether or not he was the mayor.
“The issue of the mayoral post is not an issue anymore to us. We are going to work as a team of 18 councillors for the development of our city. Being a mayor or not doesn’t stop me from adding value to this town,” said Clr Kombayi.
The Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, had fired Clrs Kombayi and Sithole following recommendations made by the independent tribunal headed by Mr Isaac Muzenda early this year. Minister Kasukuwere reprimanded the other 10 councillors and reinstated them to their positions.
Clr Chikozho, who was part of the 10 councillors who were reinstated, was then elected Gweru mayor.
In his judgment dated October 31, Justice Mathonsi said: “It is ordered that the decision of the 1st Respondent (the independent tribunal) be and is hereby set aside…the convictions of the applicants be and are hereby set aside and quashed. The 1st and 2nd applicants (Kombayi and Sithole) are hereby reinstated to their positions as councillors of the City of Gweru forthwith, without any loss of allowances and benefits. The 5th respondent (Cde Kasukuwere) shall bear the costs of this application.”