Chombo plans Z$5 billion spree for Harare

Reporting by Gift Phiri
HARARE - The ruling party has started preparing for the August local government elections in the capital and is contemptuously violating court orders and fast tracking unbudgeted new development projects worth more than Z$5 billion in several townships in an attempt to win

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has brazenly defied a High Court order by Justice Lawrence Kamocha last week to immediately disband the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission which the judge ruled was “unlawful, null, void and of no force and effect.”
To give some semblance of compliance with the rule of law, Chombo has challenged the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court.
Ruling party sources said the arrest of Zanu (PF) Harare province spokesman, William Nhara, who has staunchly opposed Makwavarara’s reign, was telling insofar as widening ructions were emerging in the ruling party’s Harare administration.
Nhara’s arrest at the Harare International Airport last week with contraband diamonds has raised eyebrows amid reports he could have walked into a booby trap aimed at “eliminating him”.
The Zimbabwean heard that Chombo wanted his election strategy to work unhindered and anyone opposing it would be kicked out. Sacked Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya, who has openly clashed with Makwavarara won his reinstatement through the courts last week but was on Tuesday kicked out of Town House on Chombo’s instructions.
The election strategy involves developing factory shells in Highfield, Budiriro and Mufakose, three densely-populated townships which are strongholds of the opposition.
Chombo also intends to crank up the construction of a few houses under the ambitious Operation Garikai.
“We suggested realistic deadlines for these projects but we were turned down by the commission running Harare. We were told everything has to be fast-tracked,” a council engineer said.
Sources said they had been told funds would be made available for the construction of new pump stations and sewer treatment works in Mabvuku, Tafara, Chisipite and other suburbs of Harare “even if it meant that government had to print more money”.
Recent reports say the Harare municipality is working on awarding an $8 billion contract to business tycoon Enock Kamushinda to refurbish the eyesore Matapi hostels in Mbare, allegedly without going to tender.

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