Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
MDC-T will boycott a by-election expected in Bulawayo soon following the Government’s firing of Ward 23 councillor Thobani Ncube who was convicted of defrauding a home seeker of $12 000.
Last week, Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Saviour Kasukuwere fired Ncube after he was sentenced to 36 months in prison which was conditionally commuted to 630 hours of community service.
In an interview yesterday, MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairman Mr Gift Banda said the party will maintain its stance of boycotting by-elections.
“Our stand is that unless there are electoral reforms we will not participate in any elections but we will cross that bridge when we reach it. But I understand that he has filed an appeal,” said Mr Banda.
Ncube was reluctant to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday.
Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Cde Dennis Ndlovu said his party will adopt a wait and see attitude on the pending by-election noting that the revolutionary party will participate in all elections.
According to the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, 2016, the minister can suspend a councillor from exercising all or any of his or her functions in the event that they are convicted.
“In accordance with section 278 of the Constitution, the chairperson or councillor of a council shall only be removed from office on the grounds of inability to perform the functions of their office due to mental or physical incapacity; or gross incompetence or gross misconduct.”
“The same shall be removed from office after a conviction of an offence involving dishonesty, corruption or abuse of office; or a wilful violation of the law, including a local authority by-law,” reads the document.
Last year in September, Cde Kasukuwere suspended five out of Bulawayo’s 29 councillors for alleged corruption including the city’s former deputy mayor Mr Gift Banda.
Three councillors were later exonerated but Mr Banda together with ward 21’s councillor Reuben Matengu were fired from council following an investigation by an independent tribunal.
Mr Banda has since approached the High Court seeking to be reinstated on grounds that he was innocent.