By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
Former Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s gross incompetence and abuse of office has been exposed by the Bulawayo High Court which nullified his suspension and subsequent dismissal of Gweru Town Clerk Mr Daniel Matawu.
Mr Kasukuwere has also been ordered to recompense Mr Matawu for the legal costs he incurred from the time he instituted legal proceedings against him.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi on Thursday last week ruled that Mr Matawu be reinstated as Gweru Town Clerk.
The High Court also ruled that the extension of the tenure of office of the caretaker Gweru Commission was illegal in that Mr Kasukuwere had no prerogative to extend its tenure beyond 90 days as stipulated by the Councils Act.
“It is hereby declared that the term of office of the caretaker commission appointed by the first respondent (Mr Kasukuwere) to run the affairs of the second respondent (Gweru City Council) expired 90 days from 14 August 2015, the date of its appointment and that legal tenure could not be lawfully extended by the first respondent,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
“The first (Mr Kasukuwere) and second respondents (Gweru City Council) shall bear the costs of this application jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved.”
The High Court ruling has left Gweru City Council on the horns of a dilemma as the commission made several appointments in the local authority during the extended tenure which has been deemed illegal.
This means that the appointment of Gweru Town Clerk, Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza, might be illegal in that the commission itself had become illegal and thus nullifies every other decision they made during the extended tenure.
The court also ruled that Mr Kasukuwere erred in appointing the caretaker commission in retrospect.
Mr Kasukuwere extended the tenure of the Gweru Commission in March 2016 after its term expired in January the same year.
The commission continued performing its duties and went on to suspend Mr Matawu pending hearing.
The commission later found Mr Matawu guilty and dismissed him from work in November 2016.
Mr Matawu was suspended after he was found guilty of 15 counts of gross incompetence, inefficiency in the performance of his work, substantial neglect of duty and conduct which is inconsistent with the fulfilment of his job, by a tribunal set by the Gweru Commission.
Mr Matawu was facing 29 counts, but was exonerated of 14 others by the board of inquiry set up by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to investigate the matter and deliberate on his fate before making recommendations to the commission.