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CCC celebrates judge’s downfall

BY SILAS NKALA

THE Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Bulawayo province is celebrating the sacking of Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa claiming he caused the removal of former deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami.

Mabhikwa was dismissed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after a tribunal chaired by retired judge Justice November Mtshiya recommended his removal from office over misconduct after pictures of his manhood were shared by his angry girlfriend on social media.

In 2019, Mabhikwa delivered a judgement that caused the removal of Kambarami as ward 3 councillor and deputy mayor after he ruled that his election was in violation of Section 119 (2)(e) of the Electoral Act.

The ruling came after a local pressure group, 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement Trust, approached the courts seeking the nullification of Kambarami’s election as councillor and deputy mayor citing his conviction on charges of stealing an extension cable.

CCC Bulawayo spokesperson Swithern Chirowodza said the opposition party has not forgiven Mabhikwa for ruling against Kambarami.

“Be that as it may be, it is our considered opinion that …Mabhikwa will go down as the judge who ignored the law to deliver a judgement for plaintiffs -1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement and Nomalanga Dabengwa,” Chirowodza said.

“Mabhikwa failed to recognise that the High Court was in that instance sitting as an Electoral Court.

“Mabhikwa dethroned Kambarami for an alleged criminal conviction the latter had appealed against. …Mabhikwa ignored Section 278 (2) of the constitution which provides that an Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment of an independent tribunal to exercise the function of removing from office mayors, chairpersons and councillors.”

Chirowodza argued that the Local Government ministry was supposed to set up a tribunal to investigate Kambarami’s case.

“The Supreme Court quashed the High Court declarateur awarded to 1893 Mthwakazi Restoration Movement and Nomalanga Dabengwa, which terminated Kambarami’s service as Ward 3 councillor and Bulawayo deputy mayor,” he said.

“The ratio of the Supreme Court judgement is that …Mabhikwa erred in awarding a declarateur on behalf of the Electoral Court which, as a creature of statute, does not have the wide powers and inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

“For a High Court judge to call such a strong constitutional argument “a legal nicety” is misdirection.

“The court encroached into the province of the tribunal.

“The court is not a fact-finding tribunal, which investigates the suitability and conduct of a sitting councillor.”

The Bulawayo City Council has not admitted Kambarami to the council chambers despite winning his appeal at the Supreme Court.

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