Chombo avoids parly committee a wide berth

The Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo today failed to attend the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the Local Government, Rural and Urban Development to give oral evidence on the state of affairs of the State-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco).

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

The meeting was postponed twice after Chombo had indicated that he was busy and would be available in the afternoon.

But later in the day his personal assistant telephoned the chairperson of the committee, Lynette Karenyi Kore indicating that Chombo was unable to attend with no reasons being given.

Zupco has been facing a number of operational challenges for years due to political interference by Zanu PF politicians who forcefully use the buses for party programmes without paying for the services.

Chombo has been fingered in a number of corrupt activities in several local authorities where he has illegally acquired council land. The Zanu PF politician has further been disrupting council activities in the MDC run councils across the country, where he has appointed special interest councillors who are mostly losing Zanu PF councillors in the 2008 elections.

The MDC is in charge of all urban councils except Chitungwiza and of most rural councils. Kore said her committee would send another invite to Chombo for him to give the oral evidence.

Meanwhile, Councillor Julius Musevenzi of Ward 15, Warren Park, Harare is spearheading the construction of the Mereki Shopping Centre ahead of its re-opening on Saturday.

The area was closed by the police last week in a bid to curb the typhoid outbreak which is affecting some parts of Harare suburbs.

After the closure, Musevenzi mobilised funds from the business community to make the place more habitable. The funds were used in the construction of toilets and shades for cooking, eating and drinking.

Musevenzi said labour for the refurbishment was provided for free by the vendors and the local community.

The councillor said hundreds of Warren Park residents were surviving on selling food to patrons at Mereki Shopping Centre, which has been in existence for the past 21 years.

“Mereki is a social place and legalised area where people gather to socialise and eat,” said Musevenzi.

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