By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: Councillors here are headed for a nasty showdown with former mayor Somveli Dlamini, who was last week reinstated as councillor, has clashed with fellow councillors claiming he remained the town’s legitimate first citizen.
Dlamini, who has since aligned himself to reinstated MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora and the MDC-T, claims his dismissal by the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance was outlawed by a Supreme Court ruling which ordered that the party structures return to 2014 status.
Last week, Mwonzora wrote to Local Government Minister, July Moyo seeking Dlamini’s reinstatement as a councillor in the resort town, an order that was immediately granted.
However, the other 10 councillors who were voted into office on an MDC Alliance ticket, and have remained loyal to Chamisa, last Thursday quickly convened a meeting where they elected Rich Mguni as the new mayor to block Dlamini from reclaiming the mayorship.
But, Dlamini who did not attend Thursday’s elections, insists he remained the Victoria Falls mayor.
“That was a bogus meeting and the person who was elected is not legitimate. I am the legitimate mayor in that office because I was elected by the people and sworn in, ” Dlamini told NewZimbabwe.com.
He said all activities that took place after his expulsion by the Chamisa were outlawed by the Supreme Court judgment, which ruled that Chamisa was illegitimate leader of the MDC.
Dlamini said his colleagues in council had violated the Urban Councils Act hence the election of Mguni as mayor was a nullity.
He said the letter of his reinstatement dated 5 May was worded in the same manner his expulsion letter was drafted hence his return as mayor. However, other councillors are resisting his attempts as they remain loyal to Chamisa and the MDC Alliance.
During Thursday’s mayoral election, Prince Moyo, once Dlamini’s close ally made it clear that the councillors did not want him back in the mayor’s office.
“We welcome him back as a member and not as a mayor. We should go ahead and elect a new mayor,” said Moyo who was seconded by his colleagues to preside over the election as then acting mayor Mwale had declared interest to contest for the post.
Dlamini was expelled by MDC Alliance secretary-general Charlton Hwende in February this year on charges of violating party rules and undermining protocol following a contentious election for the position of mayor in 2018.
However, 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 would be reinstated into the MDC Alliance.
The MDC Alliance seems to have been overtaken by events and Dlamini has since been reinstated by MDC-T.
In 2018, Dlamini was also suspended from the party after he defied a party order to step aside for the election of mayor in support of the MDC Alliance preferred candidate Margaret Varley of Ward 1. The suspension was later lifted.
Last week, Hwende and three other MPs were expelled from Parliament after Mwonzora wrote to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda recalling the legislators as they were no longer MDC-T members.