THE MDC-T has expelled Mutare mayor Tatenda Nhemarare and demoted Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi for bribery and betrayal during the election of mayors September this year.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told a press briefing Friday that Nhemarare was expelled along with three other councillors from the border city after a party enquiry established they connived with the enemy to dump the party’s mayoral choice.
“In Mutare, the mayor councillor Tatenda Nhemarare was found guilty of disobeying a lawful instruction from the party. He stood as a mayor in the face of somebody who had been elected at a party caucus as the party representative,” Mwonzora said.
“There is also a finding that he colluded with Zanu PF in the election of mayor and we found that regarding his involvement in this issue, the sentence of expulsion from the party was fair and just.
Mwonzora said Gweru mayor Kombayi was found guilty of displacing the party’s choice, Councillor Chikozho, to stand for election but was spared the dreaded expulsion after no evidence linking him to any collusion with Zanu PF was found.
“He simply displaced an MDC cadre and replaced that MDC cadre with himself without colluding with the opponent and therefore some form of extenuation was found that’s why he was simply recalled but not expelled,” he said.
Even though there were strong suspicions of bribery against Kombayi, Mwonzora added, the party could not extend the same punishment as that meted out to Nhemarare since Kombayi insisted he was financially assisting colleagues during campaigns.
The Mutare councillors who were expelled were Pamela Mutasa, Richard Bhiza and Farai Mupfura.
Mwonzora said they were expelled for “colluding with Zanu PF to subvert a lawful instruction from the party”.
“These councillors were found guilty of subverting the will of the electorate in Redcliff as well as disobeying a lawful instruction. They were also found guilty of accepting bribes from Zanu PF,” said Mwonzora.
“As a party we have absolutely no other answer to bribery and corruption but dismissal.”
Mwonzora said all the party’s councillors had been called to an MDC-T caucus where they were asked to elect a mayor of their choice among themselves and whoever emerged from this “election” was the party choice.
Mwonzora said the expelled councillors were given the chance to state their cases and they failed to give any satisfactory explanations.
The MDC said it was now set to local government minister Ignatius Chombo informing him of its position, paving way for by-elections in the affected wards.