9 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 - Issue 496

press release

Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu of Umguza rural district in Matebeleland North has taken Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development to court over unlawful dismissal.

Councillor Ndlovu was dismissed by Chombo last November on allegations of misconduct.

However, Councillor Ndlovu has filed papers at the High Court in Bulawayo challenging his dismissal by Chombo who has been fingered in several cases of corruption including illegally acquiring land in urban and rural councils across the country.

In his court papers, Councillor Ndlovu argues that his dismissal by Chombo is politically motivated. "The investigations that led to me being charged with seven counts of misconduct were patently biased and clearly conducted along politically partisan lines," Councillor Ndlovu said in his court papers.

"The investigation team only confined itself to and obtained statements from people only affiliated to Zanu PF and shunned and avoided those affiliated to the MDC to which I am affiliated to. This on its own was a strong bias that compromised the whole process and First Respondent (Chombo) should not have persisted with the process amidst such blatant partisanship," the court papers read.

Councillor Ndlovu said the decision made by Chombo was premeditated and biased. "All the charges were trumped up against me to silence me for my vocal objections and exposure of tender corruption to the Ilitshe Road. The whole process was a way of punishing me for exercising my right to speak about the illegality of the public tender process," said Councillor Ndlovu.

Since 2008 when the majority of current councillors were voted into office on an MDC ticket, Chombo has been destabilising the operations of the MDC led - councils and suspending the democratically elected councillors on phoney corruption charges.

Over 900 councillors were voted into office on an MDC ticket in 2008 in both rural and urban areas.

Meanwhile, the MDC Youth Assembly has called for the immediate release of five MDC members who are in remand prison on spurious charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare in 2011.

The five members; Yvonne Musarurwa, Last Maengahama, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon Mapanzure and Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere are part of the 31 MDC members who are on trial at the High Court facing false charges of murdering the police officer. The others were granted bail last year after spending more than 19 months in remand prison.

"We are clear in our understanding that the continued detention of our five cadres in the Glen View 31 court case is an act of political harassment and we strongly believe they are political prisoners," the Youth Assembly said.

"For 19 long months the Zanu-PF machinery influenced the continued detention of our comrades at Chikurubi Maximum and Harare Remand prisons, as they try to make the remaining five political prisoners a ransom to gag progressive youth against mobilisation for democracy and change. The trial itself has been a farce and based on unacceptable allegations that our comrades murdered police Inspector Petros Mutedza," said the Youth Assembly.

"We demand the immediate release of the remaining MDC comrades Yvonne Musarurwa, Last Maengahama, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon Mapanzure and Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere". The Continued persecution of the MDC leadership and membership will not distract the party from its main thrust of ushering a new Zimbabwe to the many suffering Zimbabweans.

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