Fired Victoria Falls mayor withdraws Chamisa lawsuit

FIRED Victoria Falls Mayor, Councillor Somvelo Dlamini who recently approached the High Court challenging the MDC Alliance’s decision to recall him has withdrawn the lawsuit.

Mr Dlamini was fired by the opposition party leadership on allegations of violating party rules.

In his court application, the fired mayor had cited the opposition party, its leader Nelson Chamisa, the party’s secretary general Mr Charlton Hwende, MDC, MDC-Alliance, its provincial chairperson Mr Prince Dubeko Sibanda, Victoria Falls Municipality and Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo as respondents.

Mr Dlamini filed a notice of withdrawal at the Bulawayo High Court on Monday. The reasons of withdrawal were, however, not stated in court papers.

“Be pleased to take notice that the applicant hereby withdraws this application and that with consent of first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents each to pay their own costs,” read the notice of withdrawal.

Mr Dlamini, however, indicated that he would tender Minister Moyo’s costs. The MDC Alliance accused Mr Dlamini of refusing to resign from his position as Victoria Falls mayor after a contentious election in 2018 to pave way for the party’s preferred candidate Cllr Margaret Valley of Ward 1.

The party alleges that Clr Dlamini defied the party directive when he stood as a candidate and defeated Clr Valley by eight votes to three.

Mr Hwende wrote to Clr Dlamini a letter dated February 24 this year advising him about the decision of the party’s national council to terminate his membership and remove him as the resort town’s mayor and ward 9 councillor.

The letter which was copied to Mr Sibanda and Victoria Falls Municipality said Mr Dlamini had violated party instructions.

“Your expulsion is in terms of article 5.11(a) of the Movement for Democratic Change constitution as read with the unanimous national council resolution of 23rd November 2018. Consequently, the party is immediately invoking the provisions of Section 278 (1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution as read with Section 129 of the same to have you removed from the position of councillor of the Victoria Falls Municipality,” read part of the letter.

It is the third time that the Chamisa-led party has fired Mr Dlamini after expelling him from the party twice in 2018 before reinstating him for allegedly defying his superiors’ decision not to stand for election as Victoria Falls mayor to pave way for a candidate of their choice, Clr Valley.

Mr Dlamini argued that his dismissal from both the party and council was in violation of his constitutional rights, arguing that he was never brought before a disciplinary hearing.

“I was never charged of any act of misconduct in terms of the MDC Alliance’s constitution. The law clearly states that where an adverse administrative decision is to be taken against me I ought to be given an opportunity to make representations, but in this case, I was neither afforded such an opportunity nor furnished with any reasons thereof,” he said.

Mr Dlamini said in terms of section 129 (1) (k) as read with section 278 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, he could not be recalled by the MDC Alliance, arguing that at the time of his election, the party on whose ticket he was elected was MDC.

He said he was together with Masvingo and Chegutu mayors asked to step down since they were elected under the same circumstances.

“However, my colleagues from Masvingo and Chegutu have not been recalled while I am being recalled. I am therefore subjected to unfair discriminatory conduct which is against the constitution of Zimbabwe. The fourth respondent’s actions of showing racial discrimination in saying I must resign from being mayor of Victoria Falls to pave way for his preferred losing candidate Varley is against the ethos of equality among the people of different races,” he said.

Mr Dlamini is also facing charges of abuse of office after he allegedly forged title deeds of a housing stand in 2013 before illegally selling it for US$20 000. The matter is still pending before the courts.