The MDC-T has described the recent suspension of Mutare mayor Brian James by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo as ridiculous and threatened to disregard the suspension.
Last week, Chombo ejected James from his mayoral office and ordered him to stop performing any council duties until he was cleared for alleged misconduct.
MDC-T Manicaland provincial spokesperson Pishayi Muchauraya said the move smacked of gross abuse of office by Chombo. Muchauraya urged James to defy the order and report for duty today.
“Mutare is the best performing city in Zimbabwe at the moment but someone comes in to distort everything positive happening here. As a party we say it’s an insult. We don’t recognise that Zanu PF suspension of a democratically elected MDC-T mayor,” said Muchauraya.
“In the letter of suspension there are no allegations of misconduct. It’s just a plain letter. James was advocating for the audit of council finances in a bid to expose the alleged corrupt activities in council by councillors and management.
“We are left without option but to dismiss the suspension. If council failed why is he targeting one person?
“Chombo is fulfilling the Zanu PF mandate of ruining this country but we are not going to sit and fold our hands over such stupid moves. We will defy that suspension and take Chombo head-on,” said Muchauraya.
The bone of contention is believed to be the sharp differences between councillors and management over the formulation of the 2012 budget.
Muchauraya said the party would investigate some of its councillors accused of working in cahoots with Chombo to undermine the mayor.
Meanwhile, James maintained his cool over the suspension saying he would only comment after his lawyers had responded to Chombo’s order.
“My legal team will respond to that letter. However, what surprises me is the nature of the letter. It was so vague and I would like to know the reasons I got suspended for,” James told NewsDay.
Chombo was not reachable for comment yesterday.