Kombayi lodges court appeal against expulsion

BULAWAYO - Former Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi has appealed to the High Court here to compel the government to set aside the decision by an independent tribunal to expel him.

This comes after Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere last month expelled Kombayi and ward 4 councillor, Kenneth Sithole after a tribunal installed by the minister found him guilty on charges of abuse of office among others, but reinstated 10 MDC councillors and three from Zanu PF.

Kombayi’s charges included authorising payment of $1 875 in council funds towards MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s stay at Antelope Park on party business and refusing to surrender his mayoral vehicle, a Mazda BT50, to council following his suspension.

Kombayi and other Gweru urban councillors were initially suspended in 2015 but they appealed to the High Court. He won the case but Kasukuwere defied the order.

Instead, the minister appointed a three-member caretaker commission led by Tsunga Mhangami to run council affairs pending investigations by the tribunal.

This week, Kombayi was back at the court filing an application for review where he cited Kasukuwere, the Gweru City Council, the tribunal and three others as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Kombayi who is represented by Gundu and Dube legal practitioners said he was of the strong opinion that the determination to expel him was unlawful.

“The tribunal erred in points of law in that it assumed jurisdiction in retrospect…and it made facts in that it made determination using the law that was not applicable to the matter before it,” he said.

He said the tribunal also erred in that it disregarded to make decisions on points of law raised before making a determination on the merits.

“The tribunal erred in dismissing me without taking into account and without due consideration on the value and gravity of the matter. It also erred in dismissing me without even requesting address on my mitigation,” Kombayi noted.

Regarding one of his charges of authorising payment of $1 875 towards Tsvangirai’s stay at Antelope Park, Kombayi argued: “The tribunal erred in failing to distinguish between a tour by a council guest and an MDC function. The tribunal erred on both facts and law by concluding that Tsvangirai’s visit the Gweru council and touring was an MDC party activity.”

He also said the tribunal erred in concluding that his demand for clarity on the status and condition of the mayoral vehicle was defiance of the ministerial directive when it was not.

He however, appealed for his reinstatement and that  of Sithole to their positions as councillors, without any loss of any allowances or benefits.

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