By Bulawayo Correspondent
A BULAWAYO High Court Judge Monday acquitted former deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami of theft charges, paving way for his reinstatement.
In July 2018, Bulawayo magistrate, Shareen Rosemani convicted and sentenced Kambarami to 18 days in prison with an option of paying $80 for stealing an electrical extension cord.
In the same month, Kambarami contested as an MDC Alliance candidate in council elections for Bulawayo’s ward three and won.
However, his victory was challenged at the High Court by ZAPU’s losing councillor Nomalanga Dabengwa, and the Mthwakazi Restoration Movement Trust.
The two litigants argued that Kambarami‘s election was in violation of the Electoral Act.
Following the declaration of his election as null and void by High Court judge, Thompson Mabhikwa last September, Kambarami appealed against both conviction and disqualification as a councillor at the High Court and Supreme Courts respectively.
In a judgement delivered Monday, Justice Martin Makonese concurred with Kambarami’s lawyer, Dixon Moyo that the court a quo erred in taking a casual approach to the guilty plea proffered by the appellant.
“Having submitted contradictory statements the trial magistrate was supposed to have canvassed more information from the accused. The plea was therefore not genuine and accordingly, the conviction and sentence are set aside,” ruled Justice Makonese.
Kambarami’s disqualification appeal was still pending at the Supreme Court but following Monday’s High Court ruling, the case is now a dead rubber.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Swethern Chiroodza welcomed Justice Makonse’s judgment.
“To us, it has always been very clear that this case had no legs to stand on. We are happy that councillor Kambarami is now going to resume his duties as deputy mayor,” said Chiroodza.