Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
FIRED Victoria Falls Mayor, Councillor Somvelo Dlamini has approached the High Court challenging the MDC Alliance’s decision to recall him on allegations of violating party rules and undermining protocol.
In his court application, the fired mayor cited the opposition party, its leader Nelson Chamisa and other party officials.
The MDC Alliance accuses Mr Dlamini of refusing to resign from his position as Victoria Falls mayor after a contentious election in 2018 to pave way for the party’s preferred candidate Cllr Margaret Valley of Ward 1.
By so doing the party alleges that Clr Dlamini defied the party directive when he stood as a candidate and defeated Clr Valley by eight votes to three.
The party’s secretary general Mr Charlton Hwende wrote to Clr Dlamini a letter dated February 24, 2020, advising him about the decision of the party’s national council to terminate his membership and remove him as the resort town’s mayor and ward 9 councillor.
The letter which was copied to the party’s Matabeleland North provincial chairperson Mr Prince Dubeko Sibanda and Victoria Falls Municipality said Clr Dlamini had violated party instructions.
“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 23rd November 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,” reads part of the letter.
It is the third time that the Chamisa-led party has fired Clr Dlamini after expelling him from the party twice in 2018 before reinstating him for allegedly defying his superiors’ decision not to stand for election as Victoria Falls mayor to pave way for a candidate of their choice Clr Valley.
Clr Dlamini, who is a self-actor, filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging his removal from the council seat, citing Mr Hwende, MDC, MDC-Alliance and Mr Chamisa, Mr Sibanda and Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo as respondents.
In his founding affidavit, Clr Dlamini said his dismissal from both the party and council was in violation of his constitutional rights, arguing that he was never brought before a disciplinary hearing.
“I was never charged of any act of misconduct in terms of the MDC Alliance’s constitution. The law clearly states that where an adverse administrative decision is to be taken against me I ought to be given an opportunity to make representations, but in this case, I was neither afforded such an opportunity nor furnished with any reasons thereof,” he argued.
“My right to a fair administrative justice under section 68 of the constitution has been violated since I was never brought before a disciplinary hearing to answer any charges either at provincial level or on appeal before the national disciplinary committee.”
Clr Dlamini said in terms of section 129 (1) (k) as read with section 278 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, he could not be recalled by MDC Alliance, arguing that at the time of his election, the party on whose ticket he was elected was MDC. “I must state that at the time of elections, the party, which I belonged to was the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube. It went into the composite political agreement with other six political parties including the MDC-T led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai and all these parties remained independent and none of them were dissolved in terms of their respective constitutions,” he said.
Clr Dlamini said he was together with Masvingo and Chegutu mayors asked to step down since they were elected under the same circumstances.
“However, my colleagues from Masvingo and Chegutu have not be recalled while I am being recalled. I am therefore subjected to unfair discriminatory conduct which is against the constitution of Zimbabwe. The fourth respondent (Mr Chamisa)’s actions of showing racial discrimination in saying I must resign from being mayor of Victoria Falls to pave way for his preferred losing candidate Margarete Varley is against the ethos of equality among the people of different races,” he said.
Clr Dlamini wants an order nullifying his letter of dismissal dated February 24, 2020.
He also wants the court to declare the actions of the respondents illegal and a breach of the constitution.
Clr Dlamini 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. The matter is still pending before the courts.
The respondents are yet to respond.— @mashnets