Bulawayo– Ousted Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi’s hopes of reclaiming his job were kept alive on Monday when the Bulawayo High Court blocked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) from going ahead with the Gweru City Council by-elections which were intended to replace him and another fired councillor.
Kombayi and Councillor Kenneth Sithole were recently dismissed by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere on allegations of gross misconduct, maladministration and abuse of public funds.
This forced the Gweru businessman was to approach the courts to lodge an urgent application to bar ZEC from holding by-elections, pending an appeal against their dismissal.
Cited as first respondent was Kasukuwere, the Gweru City Council as second while ZEC and the Midlands Provincial Elections Officer were also cited as third and fourth respondents respectively.
Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, in a chamber ruling, said that ZEC has to wait for the outcome of the appeal against dismissal before considering holding any elections in Gweru’s Wards 1 and 4.
“The third respondent (ZEC) and fourth respondent (ZEC Midlands Provincial Elections Officer) be and are hereby interdicted from holding by-elections for wards one and four in Gweru until the finalisation of an application for review filed by the applicants and others under Case Number HC637/17,” said Justice Mathonsi in his ruling.
Kombayi and Sithole launched an urgent chamber application Case Number HC637/17, last week to have their convictions and dismissed on charges of incompetence and mismanagement.
This follows recommendations by an Independent Tribunal which was hired to determine their fate.