CHIVHU district development coordinator (DDC) Michael Mariga yesterday stripped two MDC Alliance councillors of their posts and barred them from attending council meetings after they defied orders to resign from the civil service following their victory in the 2018 harmonised elections.

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

Edwin Maseva (ward 11) and Emmanuel Punungwe (ward 10), who are both primary school teachers, were stripped of their titles just before the beginning of the Chikomba Rural District full council meeting.

Addressing other councillors during the meeting, Mariga said Maseva and Punungwe had failed to comply with a directive from the Public Service Commission (PSC), which ordered them to resign from the civil service 30 days following 2018 their electoral victory or stop serving as councillors.

According to a letter dated April 15, 2020, written by the PSC secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe, which Mariga read out to councillors, civil servants serving as councillors would be violating the Constitution and the Public Service Regulations Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000 as stated in Circular 10 of November 2018.

“Given the fact that it is a misconduct to engage in any other employment or service for remuneration without the written consent of the commission, it is advisable that you act immediately to correct the situation,” the letter read.

“For avoidance of doubt, the commission hereby directs that as a civil servant, you should cease to serve as a councillor with immediate effect. Failure to comply with this directive will result in disciplinary action taken against you.”

Maseva said Mariga had misdirected himself by relying on an old prohibition order which had been overtaken by events.

“We are still in talks with the PSC on this issue and we have also engaged lawyers. As it is right now, the DDC’s dismissal is null,” Maseva said.

Punungwe described the decision by PSC to dismiss them from council as part of political persecution of opposition officials.

“This is a selective application of the law aimed at pushing certain agendas. I wonder why PSC decided to fire us from council instead of the civil service,” he said.

Following the PSC directive, three Zanu PF councillors in Buhera Rural District Council who were also teachers, resigned recently from the
civil service to continue serving in council.

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