MDC-T yesterday revived its battle to compel Government to accept the appointment of non-councillors as mayors in various cities and towns in the country after it filed a fresh application at the High court. The opposition party on Thursday withdrew its earlier application from the Electoral Court after realising it had approached the wrong court.
Justice Lavender Makoni agreed with the lawyer for the Government Mr Joseph Mandizha that the matter had been filed at the wrong court, which MDC-T lawyers conceded and quickly withdrew the matter.
Yesterday the same application found itself at the High Court and it is yet to be set down for hearing.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the development.
"We have revived our application but this time we filed it at the High Court following an advice by the Electoral Court," said Mr Mwonzora.
"We were of the belief that the matter was an electoral case but the court advised us that it had no jurisdiction.
"The matter is yet to be set down for hearing."
MDC-T cited the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development and the provincial administrators for Bulawayo and Harare as respondents in the matter.
They want the court to direct the Government to allow non-councillors to stand as mayoral candidates.
Two weeks ago secretary for Local Government Urban and Rural Development Mr Killian Mpingo instructed all provincial administrators to only consider candidates who are elected councillors for the mayoral posts.
Mr Mupingo instructed the administrators to ensure that those elected as mayors and chairpersons of councils come from elected councillors only when they preside over the inauguration of councils expected soon.
He spelt out the Government position basing his facts on Section 274 (2) as read with Sections 265(2) and 275 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The directive sparked debate, with the MDC-T filing an urgent chamber application at the Electoral Court on Tuesday seeking to compel the out-going Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo to allow non-councillors to be elected as mayors and chairpersons of local authorities.
MDC-T secretary for local government Mr Blessing Chebundo deposed an affidavit on behalf of the party indicating that they had already held their caucus to select mayoral candidates for all cities including Harare and Bulawayo and that some of the preferred candidates were not elected councillors.
When Government took a position on the qualification of mayors, MDC-T had already convened a caucus and selected outgoing Justice and Legal Affairs Deputy Minister Obert Gutu, a lawyer, as nominee for Harare mayorship.
It also hand-picked National University of Science and Technology lecturer Mr Mandla Nyathi as the new Bulawayo mayor.
MDC-T went further and nominated its Chitungwiza deputy spokesperson Mr Isaac Manyemba for mayor of the town.