ENGINEER Elias Mudzuri has challenged his dismissal as Harare executive mayor and vowed not to vacate the mayoral mansion unless a court order compels him to do so.
Mudzuri’s court papers filed with the High Court on Wednesday cite Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and President Robert Mugabe as first and second respondents respectively.
Mudzuri was dismissed last week on allegations of misconduct, gross insubordination and mismanagement of public funds.
“Investigations into the allegations of misconduct levelled against you, the findings and recommendations were submitted to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” the letter says. “As a result, the president, in terms of Section 54(1) of the Act and through Cabinet minute number 58/04 dated 8 April 2004, has directed that you vacate your office with immediate effect.”
The letter demanded that Mudzuri vacate his mayoral mansion within seven days and surrender to the acting mayor all council property in his possession.
City of Munich, Germany which had twinning links with Harare has frozen all its cooperation projects with Harare in protest of Mudzuri’s dismissal.
Mudzuri has however challenged both the dismissal and the time he was given to vacate the mayoral mansion.
“The seven-day period given to the applicant to vacate the council residence is clearly inadequate to allow relocation,” said Mudzuri’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, in the application.
“The purported dismissal has come at a time when he had challenged the process leading to it. Until this honourable court has determined such rights, the applicant should be allowed to remain in the residence and for the status quo to remain,” she said.
In an interview this week, Mudzuri said the dismissal came after he had rebuffed government manoeuvres to lure him into resigning.
“Fortune Charumbira (Local Government deputy minister) had approached me on behalf of government urging me to resign,” Mudzuri said.
“I turned down the proposal telling him that I had been given the mandate to become mayor by the Harare residents and I would only step down if the voters ask me to do so.”
Mudzuri said he would not vacate the mayoral mansion guesthouse he is occupying until government produces a court order to that effect.
“I know there is no law in the country with Zanu PF doing whatever they want but I can’t just give in to each and every demand coming from them.”
The Combined Harare Residents Association has described the dismissal of Mudzuri as the latest indication of the Mugabe regime’s lack of respect for democracy, especially at local government level.
“Mudzuri’s mandate as an overwhelmingly elected representative has been consistently undermined by the regime which refuses to acknowledge the democratic will of the people of Harare,” the association said.
“It is clear that from the start, Chombo has been determined to prevent a successful MDC-led administration of the city. The incessant interference coupled with suspensions and dismissals of councillors is obvious evidence of this strategy.”
Meanwhile, more than 2 500 Zanu PF women and youths on Tuesday besieged the mayor of Mutare, Misheck Kagurabadza’s office.
A statement from the MDC said the Zanu PF mob, who were ferried from Arda Chisumbanje, Arda Middle Sabi, and Arda Banket, sealed off the mayor’s offices in the morning.
“The mob was carrying a coffin inscribed ‘MDC rest in peace’ and ‘Kagurabadza rest in peace’. The mob was supplied with food from TNT food outlet, owned by Shadreck Beta, a Zanu PF central committee member,” the statement said.
Kagurabadza made nine calls to the police who did not respond, said the statement.