CHIPINGE – Chipinge Town Council has not yet put in place an independent tribunal to carry out the disciplinary hearing of the town secretary Susan Dube more than a month after her suspension.
Councillors who spoke to Chipinge Times on condition of anonymity suspected a deliberate ploy by the chairman Zivanai Nyakuchena and some councilors to frustrate the case and see Dube coming back to work.
According to the law council has three months from the date of suspension to complete the case. Councilors agreed that they would announce a tribunal to hear the case.
Dube was suspended through a council resolution on April 9, 2021 following her arrest by the Police in February on two charges of abuse of office and a subsequent court order that barred her from visiting her workplace. She is currently out of jail on $20 000 bail.
Nyakuchena refuted allegations that there is a ploy to frustrate the case. He said the delay is because council is still consulting the relevant departments in the Ministry i.e.; the District Development Coordinator’s (DDC) office to get guidance.
Efforts to get a comment from the DDC William Mashava were futile.
“Council placed Dube on three months suspension on April 9, 2021 and resolved to bring an independent tribunal to preside over the hearing. More than a month has gone now with nothing on the ground and there is suspicion that some councilors want the case to fail by default. This will have undesirable consequences on the local authority,” said a source.
However, another source said due to pressure from some progressive councilors, a special meeting was held on Tuesday last week and it resolved that the hearing be conducted two weeks from the date of meeting.
The council legal practitioner Tariro Tazvitya of Bere and Brothers also attended the meeting.
“We sought assurance from our legal representative that all time lines set by council be strictly adhered to so that the case will not be ruled by default,” said a councilor who cannot be named.