MDC orders Bulawayo Deputy Mayor to step down

THE Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has ordered Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Councillor Tinashe Kambarami to step down from his post or risk being expelled from the party and recalled from the council.

Clr Kambarami (Ward 3) was elected as the city’s deputy mayor against the party’s directive to impose Ward 1 councillor Mlandu Ncube in that position.

MDC Bulawayo province deputy spokesperson Mr Edwin Ndlovu yesterday said the party had written to Cllr Kambarami ordering him to step down.

“We confirm correspondence from the party’s national secretary for local governance directing us to inform Clr Kambarami to resign from the post of Bulawayo Deputy Mayor. Yesterday (Monday) we gave him the letter directing him to step down within seven days or risk being expelled from the party,” said Mr Ndlovu.

The Chronicle is in possession of a letter written to Bulawayo province by MDC secretary for local governance Mr Sesel Zvidzai ordering the province to act on Cllr Kambarami.

The deputy mayor is accused of defying party orders by contesting an imposed position that was supposed to be taken by Clr Ncube.

“Following the election of Clr Tinashe Kambarami as the Deputy Mayor of Bulawayo against the party’s recommended candidate, Clr Mlandu. Subsequently, Clr Kambarami was summoned to head office and he failed to avail himself. A decision was made for him to withdraw from the position of deputy mayor and remain an ordinary councillor failing which the party was to expel him and recall him from council,” reads Mr Zvidzai’s letter.

“Similar cases of defiance elsewhere were dealt with by the party in the same way. You are aware that the member concerned falls within your area of control, thus we kindly invite you to put due process in motion.”

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In response, the province wrote to Clr Kambarami ordering him to step down.

“In pursuant to the letter addressed to us by the national secretary for local government we hereby inform you that you are instructed to step down from the position of Deputy Mayor Bulawayo Municipality within seven days of receipt of this letter. Failure to comply within the stipulated period shall result in your expulsion from the party and also recall from the council,” reads the letter from MDC Bulawayo.

Contacted for comment, Clr Kambarami requested to be phoned after 30 minutes but he was later not answering his cellphone.

MDC has so far fired Victoria Falls Mayor Clr Somvelo Dlamini as well as the Chegutu mayor and six other councillors.

Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said MDC was within its rights to fire councillors as the principle is similar to that used for firing Members of Parliament and senators.

“Under the parliamentary processes a party can expel someone from the party and write to the Speaker leading to the individual’s expulsion from Parliament.

“In local authorities the party first expels the individual before writing to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, who will then notify the councillor of expulsion. The rule is the same,” said Prof Madhuku.

“Our laws allows a party to act in such an undemocratic manner where people vote but the party decides who then remains in Parliament. So Chamisa (Nelson) has been silly enough to expose the undemocratic nature of our Constitution.”

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However, a well-placed source said it would be difficult for the MDC to expel some of the councillors as they were elected under the MDC Alliance banner.

“These councillors were elected under MDC Alliance which is not a political party but a coalition. But now a political party wants to recall them which can create a legal hurdle. The councillors can easily be defiant using that legal technicality and retain their positions. So the best thing is to watch the space,” said the official.

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