The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
FORMER Bulawayo deputy mayor Mr Tinashe Kambarami has been barred from performing council duties after Bulawayo City Council lawyers advised the local authority that even though he appealed against the High Court ruling, he had no legal standing to continue serving as a councillor.
Last month, High Court judge, Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that the election of Kambarami was in violation of section 119 (2) (e) of the Electoral Act following his conviction of theft.
Clr Kambarami went on to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court and on Wednesday, during a full council meeting he was present, with his lawyers, Samp Mlaudzi and Partners saying the appeal meant he could continue with his normal council duties.
In a statement to councillors last Wednesday, the city’s town clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said while they had been served with the deputy mayor’s notice of appeal they were consulting their own lawyers to map a way forward. Mr Dube further maintained that the council would take a neutral role in the matter.
However, in the latest development, the city’s lawyers, Coghlan and Welsh wrote to Mr Kambarami’s lawyers noting that the notice of appeal did not necessarily overturn the High Court’s declaratory order.
“The order merely enunciated the rights of the parties consequent upon the conviction of Honourable Councillor T Kambarami. In terms of the above authority, therefore, your client’s noting of the appeal, does not suspend the declaratory order. That authority has not been overturned, it is still law. It is thus binding on our client, whose hands are therefore tied. In light of the above, and the said authority, Clr Kambarami cannot resume his normal council duties as his election as councillor has been declared null and void. He is no longer entitled to any privileges as a councillor from henceforth and will not be given any,” noted the council’s lawyers.
In a letter to Mr Kambarami, the Town Clerk also informed him of the latest developments advising him that the local authority has since ceased recognising him as a councillor.
“As per the advice, you are in terms of law prohibited to carry on duties as a councillor and to that effect all privileges are withdrawn until your appeal is finalised,” said the Town Clerk.
Mr Kambarami was in July last year convicted of theft by Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Ms Sharon Rosemani, under case number CRB 1981/18.
He was fined $80 or 18 days in prison for stealing an extension cord from an electrician he had hired to work at his offices.
Justice Mabhikwa said Kambarami’s failure to notify his party and Zec was in itself an act of dishonesty and an illegality, which rendered his subsequent election a nullity. The ruling followed an application by 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement Trust, through its lawyer Mr Godfrey Nyoni of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners seeking an order nullifying Clr Kambarami’s election as councillor for Ward three and the city’s deputy mayor.
However, Mr Kambarami through his lawyers Samp Mlaudzi and Partners, filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court challenging Justice Mabhikwa’s judgment.
In his grounds of appeal, Mr Kambarami said the court erred by failing to note that it had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter on the basis that it was not an election petition filed under section 168 of the Electoral Act.