BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
A BID by Chitungwiza councillors to hold mayoral elections to replace recalled mayor Lovemore Maiko hit a brickwall last Wednesday after Harare Provincial Affairs and Devolution secretary Tafadzwa Muguti blocked the move.
On Tuesday, 10 councillors wrote to acting mayor Kiven Mutimbanyoka advising him to call for elections to fill the vacant post following the recall of Maiko by the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora.
Muguti wrote to the Chitungwiza Municipality blocking the polls.
“We are also aware that a group of councillors challenged the Local Government minister (July Moyo) following the appointment of Mutimbanyoka as deputy mayor. Until there is a judgment on the matter, he will continue to discharge his duties as acting mayor,” Muguti said in his letter.
“However, section 103(4) of the Urban Council Act mandates that councillors present at a meeting of the councillors held not later than 30 days after such a vacancy elect a successor who shall serve for the unexpired term of office of his or her predecessor.
“Given the foregoing by-elections, it is advisable that elections of the mayor be held after by-elections, but within 30 days to also accommodate the democratic rights of the in-coming councillors who would have been elected. Any councillor who undermines the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) by acts of omission or commission will be charged with abuse of office.”
Muguti told NewsDay that he was not opposed to the elections, adding that he wrote to the municipality advising the city fathers “what needs to be done” before polls are held.
“We have not blocked the elections, but actually asked them (councillors) to go ahead. The election needs to be done within 30 days, but it is advisable that they incorporate incoming councillors. So it is within 30 days, but the discretion is to the acting mayor. Unfortunately, the councillors are not recognising Mutimbanyoka,” he said.
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