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Trial of former Chitungwiza mayor kick starts

The trial of the former Chitungwiza mayor Lovemore Maiko who is facing charges of falsely try to regain control of the Local authority after he was ousted has kick-started at the Chitungwiza Magistrates Court.

Maiko is alleged to have falsely acted as a Mayor in October 2022 after a quorum of the Chitungwiza Town Council held a council meeting and conducted an election which saw Maiko appointed to the mayoral post.

Local Government Minister July Moyo subsequently declared the election null and void, resulting in Maiko being slapped with criminal charges.

He is one of five other councillors facing further charges of abuse of office stemming from the same circumstances.

Today, the Magistrates Court heard the evidence from Chitungwiza town clerk, Evangelista Machona who stated that the former mayor had acted illegally.

Maiko, through his lawyer, Noble Chinhanu of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, questioned the State witness who eventually admitted that the act of council, even if wrong, are presumed valid until declared invalidated by the Minister.

She also confirmed that wrongful acts of the council are attached to the council as a whole and not to individuals singled out randomly.
But Maiko claimed that he was being victimised by the Acting Mayor who wishes to preserve his position and thus use his power through the Minister to eliminate the perceived threat.

Maiko and the other five accused are also facing disciplinary hearings before a tribunal appointed by the Minister.
This is despite provisions of section 111 of the Urban Councils Act which give immunity from liability to any elected councillor of a town council in the event that they commit or omit to do anything wrongful in the exercise of their public duties. Maiko is set to appear again in Court on 30 May 2023 for the continuation of the trial.