By Staff Reporter
Harare, May 16, 2016 – BULAWAYO South legislator Eddie Cross has hit out at Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukwere for allegedly wasting the courts’ time when he appealed against a High Court decision ordering him to reinstate Gweru Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and his councillors.
Kombayi and his 10 fellow MDC-T councillors were last year suspended on alleged gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs.
They successfully appealed the suspension at the Bulawayo High Court after arguing that the basis through which Kasukuwere exercised his powers under the Urban Councils Act had long been overtaken by provisions of the current constitution.
However, Kasukuwere has adamantly refused to abide by the ruling, later taking his appeal to the Supreme Court for determination.
In a question to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in parliament last Wednesday, Cross, an MDC-T official, said the controversial minister had no case and was merely out to waste the court’s time.
“In addition to ruling in our favour, the Judge gave us penalty financial costs against the Minister,” Cross said.
“This is a complete waste of the Supreme Court’s time. It is costing us thousands of dollars as a country to conduct these hearings. Are we going to permit this kind of activity?
“Surely adherence to the Constitution is a simple straight-forward matter. This matter is open and shut and I just want to know the views of the Minister.”
Mnangagwa, in his capacity as Justice Minister, in his response, denied it was government policy for ministers to defy the courts.
“There is no such policy…I repeat, there is no such policy,” Mnangagwa said.
“The best thing he (Cross) should do is to quote those facts and present them to the appropriate Minister whose facts relate to.
“That will be given an appropriate answer because the facts will be dealt with by the appropriate Minister. As to policy, let me assure him that there is no policy by Government that Ministers should disobey court orders.”
Pressed further, Mnangagwa took the easier route by saying he could not continue discussion a matter that was before the courts.
“The fact that the matter is in Supreme Court, in terms of the law … Yes, I know you are an economist but if you were a learned Member of Parliament, then you would know that it is subjudice,” he said.
It is not the first time that Mnangagwa has been called to defend a Zanu PF rival after he has frequently been called to defend the First Lady Grace Mugabe for her apparent abuse of state assets during her so-called meet-the-people provincial rallies.
Kasukuwere, who is Zanu PF political commissar, belongs to a party camp fronted by Grace and has since last year been involved in a bitter tussle with the Mnangagwa faction for party control ahead of President Mugabe’s much anticipated exit from politics.