Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi says he will not relinquish his post despite an ultimatum from his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party compelling him to step down and revert to being an ordinary councilor.
This follows allegations that he and four others defied a party order to support Charles Chikozho for the mayoral position following the July 2013 national elections.
Kombayi told VOA Studio 7 he was not stepping down as mayor alleging that he has not received any information from the MDC-T's national council decision compelling him to step down.
The party expected him to have tendered his resignation by December 31 but he remains defiant.
The executive elected to not expel Kombayi preferring that he relinquishes the mayoral post.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti ordered Kombayi in a letter following a national council meeting to tender a resignation letter to the Gweru town clerk by December 31.
The MDC-T national council reached a decision to expel Kombayi after he and four other councillors defied a directive to second the party’s preferred candidate for the mayoral post, Charles Chikozho, a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions official.
However, Kombayi was given some relief from expulsion on condition that he personally relinquished the mayoral post.
The letter, signed by MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, ordered Kombayi to tender a resignation letter to the Gweru town clerk by December 31.
Kombayi told Studio Seven that he has only heard about the party's resolution in the press.
Some party sources insist Kombayi received the letter informing him of the party’s decision but he maintains otherwise.
He insisted in an interview that he was still to receive the letter, adding he would decide his next move when he received the communication.
He added that for now, he remains the legitimate mayor of Gweru.
Asked what measures the MDC-T would take should Kombayi not relinquish his post as directed, MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said he could not pre-empt such a move.
He said the party is waiting to hear from Kombayi himself, adding that as a member of the party, the so-called rebel mayor knows what procedures to follow when he wants to communicate with the party’s top hierarchy.
Mwonzora also revealed that other rebel MDC-T councillors in towns across the country had been given various penalties depending on the gravity of their offences.
Elsewhere, Elvis Mavhondo councilor for Gweru’s Ward 12, who died on Friday was buried at his rural home in Gutu over the weekend.
Mavhondo, who was a member of the MDC-T, became councillor in 2003 and was one of the longest serving councillors.
He is survived by his wife, as well as several children and grand-children.