BY SENZENI NCUBE AND LULU BRENDA HARRIS
Placard waving protesters, Friday, besieged the city hall in protest against the failed attempt by a faction of councillors fronted by deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami to suspend Town Clerk Christopher Dube on allegations of mismanaging council funds, abuse of office and dereliction of duty.
The City Hall houses the Bulawayo City Council offices.
The demonstration was triggered by acting mayor`s decision to suspend Dube on Thursday leading to an ugly confrontation which was captured on video which has since gone viral.
Some of the placards read, “Kambarami and Chigora to go now”, “A better Bulawayo has water and competent councillors”, among others.
In an interview with CITE, some of the protesters said the action taken by the councillors was uncalled for.
“We want to discipline these councillors for they failed to respect the City’s Town Clerk, said Parliament Mlingo.
He added that Councillor Kambarami should concentrate on running his ward.
“It was wrong for the acting mayor to take such drastic decision when the Mayor was not around. His business should be to run his ward, he does not deserve to be the Acting Mayor as he also has criminal records,” he said.
Meanwhile, social activist Mbuso Fuzwayo said the action taken by the councillors was motivated by tribal agenda.
“We woke up to this shocking news and as residents we have lost confidence in these councillors,” he said.
A ZAPU representative identified as Sibanda said as residents of Bulawayo they have victimised Bulawayo residents enough.
Councillor Felix Mhaka escaped the angry mob who were baying for his blood.
The attempt to suspend the Town Clerk suffered a huge blow after the mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni reversed the decision.
Meanwhile, Local Government minister July Moyo said Kambarami failed to follow proper procedures in suspending Dube as there are prescribed channels on how to deal with grievances within council chambers.
Moyo arrived in Bulawayo Thursday evening, albeit for other matters relating to water sanitation plus electricity undertaking and was unaware that the town clerk had been suspended.
He only learnt of the suspension after he was inundated with calls from press, resident associations and other council officials.
“I was completely unaware about what had taken place. I came here to deal with issues relating to water sanitation and electricity so as to understand fully the challenges faced by Bulawayo residents.
“But I have discussed with the minister of state (Judith Ncube) as well as the town clerk and other city council officials,” he said while addressing the press at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex Friday afternoon.
The minister said there were due procedures to be followed if there were concerns against the town clerk.
“Residents raised a lot of concern and some residents association were worried about the manner in which the town clerk was suspended. They mayor has since corrected the situation but we can’t correct a situation of that nature without us looking at why it happened.
“I was given a lot of documentation by the town clerk and chamber secretary and advice on calling for special council meeting – how it ought to be done, if there are charges that ought to be done against officials of the council including the town clerk and how those are to be done. The advice is there in writing, I’m surprised deputy mayor took the course he took in spite of this advice,” he said.
Moyo noted it was unfortunate that even if the grievances of the acting mayor and councillors were valid the manner in which they sought to suspend the town clerk took a negative turn.
“Developments took another turn although the mayor was away which resulted in the suspension of the town clerk. I have been briefed by both minister of state, government agencies including officials who attended the suspension.
“It is unfortunate that even if the suspension had been legal or done procedurally, it was done forcibly. The town clerk was removed from office and locked outside as if he had committed a criminal act,” he highlighted.
Minister Moyo revealed that the Town Clerk has since resumed his duties although his office was still locked.