Axed Vic Falls mayor reinstated as councillor, town gets new mayor

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora has reinstated fired Victoria Falls mayor back to his position as councillor for the resort town while councillors quickly elected Rich Mguni as the new mayor.

Dlamini was officially reinstated by Local Government Minister July Moyo.

Mguni, councillor for ward 5 since 2013, beat ward 4 councillor Patricia Mwale by six votes to two in a two-man race following elections held Thursday afternoon.

Minister Moyo reinstated Cllr Dlamini on the basis of a letter written by Douglas Mwonzora who is secretary general of the MDC-T of 2014, as per the recent Supreme Court ruling which recognised Thokozani Khupe as the party’s leader.

Writing to Cllr Dlamini, Minister Moyo said: “Following receipt of a letter from the secretary general of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) stating that it is reversing your recall, I hereby withdraw my letter of 25 March 2020 dismissing you from council. You are hereby re-instated as councilor for Ward 9 Victoria Falls Municipality without loss of allowances.”

The ward 9 seat had been declared vacant while wards 10 and seven councillors had been appointed to co-oversee the ward pending elections.

Minister Moyo had declared the ward vacant in terms of Section 278 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and advised the Victoria Falls Municipality to make necessary preparations for a by-election with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Zec was yet to set a date for a by-election as it had suspended all its activities due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Victoria Falls councillors felt mandated to elect Dlamini replacement on the power of a letter of resignation the former mayor had written to town clerk Ronnie Dube on 20 March stating that was resigning from the position of mayor of Victoria Falls with effect from 31 July 2020.

In his acceptance speech, Mguni said the local authority will be a consulting council under his leadership.

“It is with deep sense of appreciation and happiness that today I accept the honour to be elected as mayor of the soon to be city of Victoria Falls. Serving my community has always been a joy and privilege that I am grateful for. I pledge to be at your service as we work together to develop smart Victoria Falls. I bring for you a style of leadership that embraces equality, diversity and responsibility,” said Mguni.

Mwale contested for the mayoral position and automatically became deputy after losing to Mguni.

Dlamini was expelled by MDC Alliance secretary Charlton Hwende wrote to Dlamini on 24 February advising him of the expulsion on allegations of violating party rules and undermining protocol following a contentions election in 2018.

It was the third time the Nelson Chamisa-led party had fired Dlamini for similar allegations since 2018.

The party wanted him to step aside for its preferred candidate Margaret Valley of Ward 1 who didn’t contest on Thursday.

Dlamini took the party to the High Court contesting his expulsion but later withdrew the lawsuit, after striking a deal with his superiors that he will be reinstated to the party.

The MDC Alliance was however overtaken by events and Dlamini was reinstated by MDC-T.