By Matabeleland North Correspondent
LOCAL Government Minister July Moyo has nullified the election as mayor, of Victoria Falls Ward 5 Councillor Richard Mguni and reinstated Somveli Dlamini, who was fired from the job by embattled MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Moyo last week reinstated Dlamini back to his post as councillor for ward 9 but MDC Alliance aligned councillors quickly elected Mguni to the post of mayor.
The move sparked fierce protests from Dlamini who was adamant his reinstatement as councillor meant he was to return to his post as the town’s first resident.
However, Minister Moyo wrote to the municipality Tuesday stating Dlamini remained mayor.
He said only a general election could remove a mayor from office.
“It has been brought to my attention that on May 7, 2020 at a meeting of Victoria Falls Municipality, an election was held for the position of Mayor of the town of Victoria Falls,” Moyo wrote.
“Please note that in terms of Section 48 and 103 of the Urban Councils Act, a mayor is elected to the office after a general election and holds office until an election or until a successor is appointed.
“The Constitution in Section 278 provides for the due processes for the removal of a mayor or councillor and following my evenly referenced letter dated 5 May 2020, Cllr Somveli Dlamini was reinstated as a councillor.
“As such, there is no provision for an election of a new mayor as Cllr Dlamini regains his post until the end of his term of office.
“In terms of Section 316, I hereby order that the election of a new mayor of Victoria Falls is nullified and Cllr Dlamini continues in the office of Mayo.”
There was confusion in the power corridors of the resort town’s council after 10 MDC Alliance councillors ganged up against Dlamini, who has since aligned himself with reinstated MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora’s faction.
This means Mguni lasted only five days in office and had not been sworn in.
In an interview earlier, Mguni had said as much as he had been elected, he did not harbour personal grudges against Dlamini who had referred to him as illegitimate.
“He is my brother. We worked together for a long time and I have nothing against him. Between me and him, we can never fight as we are brothers,” Mguni has said.
Dlamini had remained hopeful saying his colleagues risked facing serious repercussions if they continued disrespecting Minister Moyo’s directive reinstating him.
Dlamini had said the letter of reinstatement was enough to take him back to the office of Mayor as he had not resigned.
The tiff had almost turned nasty as Dlamini had reportedly confiscated keys for the mayor’s vehicle while Mguni took office keys.