THE Lusaka City Councilor suspended for exposing the irregular sale of part of ‘‘looters’’ land in Libala has appealed against his suspension.
Patriotic Front Libala ward 7 Councillor Emmanuel Chanda has appealed against his suspension to the Minister of Local Government and Housing John Phiri and has demanded that the suspension should be lifted.
He wants his suspension reviewed because procedures were allegedly breached when a committee sat to suspend him.
On 19th August, 2015, the Lusaka City Council suspended Mr. Chanda for six months over his stance to voice concerns over the illegal and secret sale of the land surrounding the Libala tennis court to a Chinese investor for the construction of a shopping mall.
In his appeal letter dated 31st August, 2015 and addressed to Dr. Phiri, Mr. Chanda stated that he was unfairly suspended by the council without following council standing orders.
Mr. Chanda said the disciplinary committee headed by deputy mayor Potipher Tembo failed to come up with an offence to warrant his suspension.
He explained that prior to the full council meeting held on 18th August, 2015, LCC Mayor George Nyendwa called for a caucus meeting where he invited selected councillors to look at his matter.
“Sir, prior to the full council meeting, His worship the Mayor called for a caucus meeting and invited selected councillors who were tutored on how my suspension should be handled. Hon. Minister, I was shocked to see that when time came to deal with my issue, the Mayor guided the meeting to revert into the committee. Members of the press, the public and the directors at the council were asked to leave the chamber because he didn’t want to deal with the matter with their presence. I was shocked that my matter had to be dealt together with issues concerning council members of staff which is not procedural,” Mr. Chanda said.
He said it was unprocedural to have his matter discussed under the umbrella of staff matters because he did not fall under that category. “Sir Council as an institution should not be allowed to run on varied standards as this would make the people question the credibility of the body in its decision making processes. Sir, precedence was set in Councillor Chikutano where his matter was subjected to debate before the final decision was arrived at unlike in my matter,” he said.
He also revealed that councillors and the Lusaka City Council had failed to make available a clear record of any council minutes indicating that the council granted specific instructions to sale the tennis and basketball courts.
“The minute No. JFHR&GP&PWD&/15/12/14 did not show the tennis court as one of the assets to be sold. Sir, while matters of rezoning, government valuation report, ministerial approvals were ignored, the minute which officers relied upon to sale the sporting facility is not only unclear but also contradictory. Recommendations under committee No. VCU/39/02/15 talked about re-planning and demarcating for commercial purposes, tennis court be fenced off and the existing buildings be offered to the sitting tenants,” Mr Chanda said. Mr. Chanda further said council minute No. 81/04/15 on which the council relied upon to justify the sale did not indicate or suggest disposing of the asset.