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Gwanda Mayor Suspended in Latest Local Gov't Minister Crackdown

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

De Necker, an official of the MDC formation headed by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, received a suspension letter stating that he was being punished for undermining Chombo’s authority

Mayor Lionel De Necker of Gwanda town, southern Zimbabwe, became the latest victim Thursday, of Local Government Minister Ignatias Chombo who suspended him on allegations of defying ministerial orders.

De Necker, an official of the MDC formation headed by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, received a suspension letter stating that he was being punished for undermining Chombo’s authority.

The ZANU-PF minister accused De Necker of disregarding his directive of November 2011 to appoint an official named Priscilar Nkala to the post of substantive council secretary.

“After you received my directive," Chombo wrote, "you proceeded to challenge the directives of the Local Government Board, appointed to carry out its responsibilities as specified in the Urban Councils Act.”

He ordered the youthful mayor to "not conduct any council business within or outside council premises, and you shall not be eligible to receive any form of remuneration from the council."

Chombo has become notorious over the past years years for targeting MDC-led councils by firing mayors and councilors, including the Harare and Chitungwiza municipalities.

Recently, he sent a team to probe the Bulawayo City Council, sparking fears he was up to no good.

De Necker told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that his removal was unfair since he had no executive powers to impose Chombo's choice on the Gwanda municipality after it rejected his directive.

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