Kombayi gives up fight


Hamutendi Kombayi has given up the fight to retain his position as mayor

Nyasha Chingono

GWERU — Hamutendi Kombayi has given up the fight to retain his position as mayor of the city of progress following a series of moves by government meant to frustrate him from resuming his duties.
A Bulawayo High Court Judge ruled recently that Kombayi’s suspension, along that of 18 other Gweru councillors, was in contravention of the provisions of section 114 of the Urban Councils Act.
The appointment of a tribunal to look into allegations of abuse of office and corruption against the city fathers was also said to be inconsistent with section 278 of the Constitution.
The ruling automatically meant that Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was supposed to reinstate them.
So far, the Local Government Minister has defied the High Court order, leaving the councillors in a lurch.
Following his suspension in August last year, Kombayi had opted to cool his feet by taking a sabbatical in Britain, his birthplace.
But upon his return recently, he was greeted by further disappointment.
This week, Kombayi admitted that he was fighting a losing war, and all he could do for now was to pin his hope against hope.
“I know I’m a fighter, but it seems I am fighting a losing battle because it is clear in the ruling that we are supposed to be reinstated,” he said.
“What do you expect me to do if someone has the guts to defy the law? I cannot go and seize my office; is that what you want me to do?”
Gweru is currently being run by a three-member commission and two councillors, who recently won the Mkoba and Senga by-elections.
Suspended Ward 17 councillor, Farai Muza, said they were yet to receive written notices of reinstatement.
“We have not received any letters of reinstatement, so we are still planning on the next move,” said Muza.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), which has dominion over the city this week ordered all suspended councillors to report for duty forthwith.
“They should keep fighting and report for duty as usual under the guidance of mayor Hamutendi Kombayi as we are pursuing the contempt of court charges,” said MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu.
“We are disappointed that Kasukuwere has chosen to fraudulently disobey the High Court order. How does a minister, who took an oath of office to respect the Constitution, turn and disrespect the same law?” he asked.


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