Chitungwiza Residents question Chombo’s sincerity on suspension of council

Chitungwiza residents have expressed serious doubts on the sincerity of the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo in dealing with the scourge of corruption among councillors and officials, saying his actions smacked of political hypocrisy.

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

In a statement, Chairman of Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association (CHIRRA) Arthur Taderera said they doubted Chombo’s sincerity.

“While we applaud the Minister for his stance on corruption, the general feeling among the residents is that the Chombo is paying lip service to the crisis of corruption and mismanagement in Chitungwiza Municipality.

“The appointment of special interest councillors for the residents is just reappointment of electoral rejects, previous employees of council who can only perpetuate rather than end corruption and other partisan individuals who have nothing new to offer the electorate.” Taderera said.

Despite identifying the major culprits in the collapse of service provision in the city, and the continued stripping of assets, CHIRRA says the Minister has still not acted decisively on the Town Clerk Mr Godfrey Tanyanyiwa, who has previously been suspended but subsequently reinstated under unclear circumstances.

Lately Tanyanyiwa was reportedly arrested and remanded in custody but CHIRRA said they are doubtful this would herald a new era of transparent and accountable city governance.

Taderera said the replacement of elected councillors with people perceived and known to belong to ZANU-PF who came in as special interest councillors is wrong as it politicises local government, in particular the Chitungwiza City Council.

“CHIRRA denounced the appointment of special interest councillors who serve the Minister and not the residents of Chitungwiza.

“To address this anomaly in the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15), the legislation governing the administration of local authorities, CHIRRA came up with the following recommends that;

• Remove all special interest councillors

• Suspension of the Town Clerk pending investigation as he is central to council operations.

• Residents should be allowed to appoint their own independent investigation/audit into Council affairs.

• A thorough investigation into allegations of corruption against councillors and officials especially around the allocation of residential and commercial stands,” the CHIRRA statement added.

The MDC-T fired all Chitungwiza city Councillors for corruption after an internal investigation unearthed numerous irregularities but Minister Chombo went to their defence and they remained in office.

In a sudden turn of events Chombo recently fired the same councillors he had defended on the same charges they had been fired for by the MDC-T sparking debate over his motive.

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