Wednesday, 24 July 2019

BYO COUNCILLORS BACK TOWN CLERK


BULAWAYO city councillors have ratified a decision by Mayor councillor Solomon Mguni to reinstate Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube to his position following his short-lived suspension by then acting Mayor Clr Tinashe Kambarami.

The city fathers are however, now facing several hurdles in instituting an investigation against Mr Dube as directed by their party, the MDC Alliance, as Government is investigating the issue and there is also the matter of conflict of interest as councillors who must set up the investigating committee are interested parties.

Council made the resolution to investigate Mr Dube on Monday following a special full council meeting but they are yet to set up a special committee to probe the town clerk as directed by their party.

Deputy Mayor Clr Kambarami and Ward Four Councillor Silas Chigora recently led the violent suspension of Mr Dube accusing him of corruption, among a litany of other charges.

During Monday’s meeting held in council chambers, the local authority bolstered security fearing an attack on councillors by irate Bulawayo residents who are unhappy about developments at City Hall.

In an interview yesterday, Clr Mguni said the special full council meeting was meant to inform councillors on the recent events.

“I had to report to council on what transpired leading to the suspension of the Town Clerk.  
I took the council through the events and asked council to confirm or ratify my decision. The decision was ratified and the suspension was lifted.

Members then directed me to institute disciplinary proceedings (against Mr Dube) and follow due processes of the law,” he said.

“You are aware that the party said we should set up a special committee to investigate the town clerk but there are some developments. The Town Clerk has taken the matter to court arguing that his suspension was unlawful.

I hope that with the resolution that we made yesterday, it will render the court process overtaken by events because already council resolved to lift his suspension.

We hope that in a week or two the court process will no longer be an impediment.”
Clr Mguni said before setting up a special committee to investigate Mr Dube, they would consider that Government has also set up a team to investigate the same matter.

Government’s five-member team started its investigation last Friday. Clr Mguni said the Government team is expected to complete its investigation this Friday before submitting its findings to the Minister of Local Government, Public

Works and National Housing, Cde July Moyo, who is expected to make public the outcome.

He said in light of those developments, councillors should think deeply about the composition of the special committee as they are interested parties.

“For now, we are now reflecting on the composition of the committee. Obviously as councillors we are interested parties in these allegations and we cannot be the complainant, investigators, prosecutors as well as judges in the same case. So we are just reflecting and we will be meeting as councillors to see how best we can assemble that committee,” Clr Mguni said.

“My problem is that I am a trained and practising lawyer and I will be viewing some of these things from a legal stand point instead of politically. This is because some of these things that others may take politically may create problems for us legally in future.”

He said different opinions by councillors should not compromise service delivery.

The Mayor said their interest should only be to see Bulawayo advancing in terms of development.

“We have no problems with having different groups in an organisation but there must be one interest at the end of the day of development of Bulawayo. So this is what I see, the development of Bulawayo, a corruption-free Bulawayo and an interest that binds us all,” said Clr Mguni who also met the city’s Aldermen and briefed them on developments at council. 

In a press briefing after the meeting, Aldermen committee chairman Phineas Ndlovu said they were satisfied with Clr Mguni’s briefing on developments at council and the committee would not take a stand until all matters had been concluded.

“We want to appeal to councillors and management to work as a team for the sake of developing Bulawayo,” said Ald Ndlovu.

The differences between the Town Clerk and some councillors allegedly started after he resisted their moves to interfere with council management operations.

The councillors are said to be angry that the Town Clerk has refused to involve them in the distribution of the $5 million ward retention fund as well as the allocation of stands and premises.  Chronicle

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