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High court reserves judgment over Mayor’s urgent chamber application

High Court Judge Justice Mary-Zimba Dube today reserved ruling after presiding over the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni seeking an order setting aside his suspension by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

According to an  information Alert posted by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Justice Dube reserved ruling after hearing arguments from lawyers representing Minister Kasukuwere as well as those who were representing Clr Manyenyeni.

Minister Kasukuwere’s lawyers were opposing Manyenyeni’s urgent chamber application while those representing Harare Mayor, David Hofisi and Dzimbabwe Chimbga of ZLHR, blamed  Local Government Minister for breaching the country’s governance charter by meddling in the management of the local authority.

Minister Kasukuwere last week  suspended Councillor Manyenyeni from serving as Mayor of Harare and councillor and justified that he had done so in terms of Section 114 (1) (d) (ii) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15].

In a letter suspending the Mayor Kasukuwere wrote : “The grounds for your suspension are that you have, without legal basis, made an employment offer to a person for the position of town clerk without the necessary approval of the Local Government Board as required by the Urban Councils Act as read with section 265 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. You went further and defied a lawfully given instruction by implementing a resolution that had been rescinded in terms of the Urban Councils Act section 314.”
Suspending Manyenyeni, Minister Kasukuwere indicated that the Harare Mayor and some City of Harare Councillors had acted unlawfully and defied his directive ordering them not to approve the appointment of seasoned banker James Mushore to the position of Town Clerk for the City of Harare.


Clr Manyenyeni’s Lawyers argued  the Minister does not have the powers and capacity to suspend the Mayor.

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“In terms of the Constitution, the removal of Mayors, Councillors and Chairpersons is done by an independent tribunal in terms of an Act of Parliament and there is neither that Act of Parliament nor an Independent Tribunal hence Minister Kasukuwere has thus arrogated to himself powers he no longer has to suspend Councilor Manyenyeni in violation of the Constitution,” argued  Hofisi and Chimbga

Hofisi and Chimbga also contended that the power to remove a Mayor is no longer vested in a Minister but in an Independent Tribunal set up in terms of an Act of Parliament and thus there is no way that Minister Kasukuwere can purport to suspend or remove Manyenyeni from office.

The lawyers added that the Minister’s authority to suspend the Mayor , can only emanate from an Act of Parliament which provides for the establishment of an Independent Tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the current Constitution of which that Act of Parliament is yet to be promulgated.

The human rights lawyers asked Justice Dube to order Minister Kasukuwere to refrain from suspending, dismissing or engaging in any other activity with a view to removing Councillor Manyenyeni from the office of Mayor of Harare.

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