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July Moyo suspends CCC councillors in Chitungwiza as he supports Mwonzora ally

Local Government minister July Moyo has once again interfered with the operation of local authorities, suspending six opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors in Chitungwiza including Lovemore Maiko who was crowned mayor of the town last week.

Moyo accused former deputy mayor and ward 19 councillor Musa Makweza, party chief whip Richard Chamutsa (ward 5), Peter Matiringe (ward 10), Kuda John (ward 21) and ward 14 councillor Chengetai Nyagondo of illegally convening a meeting which re-instated Maiko.

The Minister allegedly did this in support of Douglas Mwonzora’s ally Kiven Mutimbanyoka who had been replaced by Maiko after winning the mayoral election on Friday last week.

But Mutimbanyoka refused to endorse the election after storming out of the meeting that instituted the particular plebiscite.

In a letter dated October 11, Moyo accused Maiko of being elected by an illegal meeting. He accordingly suspended him along with five other councillors.

“In line with Section 114 (2) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) as amended by the Local Government Laws Amendment Act Number 8 of 2016, I have reasonable grounds for suspecting that you Councillor Lovemore Maiko have committed acts of gross misconduct, gross incompetence, and willful violation of the law as referenced in subsection (1) (b). (c) and (e) and hereby suspend you, with immediate effect, from the office of Councillor for Chitungwiza Municipality Ward 7 in terms of Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) as amended by Section 3 of the Local Government Laws Amendment Act, Number 8 of 2016,” read the letter.

Moyo said allegations are that, On 7 October 2022, Maiko attended an “illegal” meeting in the Council Chambers at Chitungwiza Municipality after the official ordinary meeting which was being chaired by the Acting Mayor (Mutimbanyoka) had been adjourned.

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Moyo further accused Maiko that he went further to propose the Chairmanship of Councillor Kudakwashe John “when you knew that the Acting Mayor was the Chairman who had the authority to chair such a meeting.

“You participated in the elections of Mayor despite having been advised during the official ordinary meeting that the issue of election of a substantive Mayor was pending before the High Court.

“You willfully disobeyed the law by accepting the position of Mayor when you were fully aware that there is an Acting Mayor and the procedure as outlined in the Urban Councils Act had not been followed You went further to appoint Dr Kasu as the Acting Town Clerk when there was another Town Clerk who had been appointed during an official council meeting,” Moyo said.

Moyo said the allegations gave reasonable grounds to suspect that Maiko was guilty of gross misconduct, gross incompetence, willful violation of the law.

He directed Maiko to “make your response to these allegations to this office within seven days of receiving this notice in terms of Section 114(2)(2) (e) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15] as amended by Section 3 of the Local Government Laws Amendment Act 8 of 2016.

“During the period of the said suspension, you shall not conduct any business for or on behalf of Council, within or outside Council premises.”

CCC has since issued a statement vowing to resist Moyo’s directive.

“Stop abuse of power: The regime in Harare continues to abuse office after July Moyo suspended an elected CCC Mayor of Chitungwiza Cllr Lovemore Maiko, in a bid to illegally install his party’s candidate Mutimbanyoka. We will resist this continued abuse of power by the regime,” read the statement.