Hotel meeting with Chombo lands Mutare councillors in trouble

A clandestine meeting between Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and five MDC-T councillors in Mutare has irked the provincial leadership of the party who wants them ‘dealt with sternly.’


Chombo, who was in the eastern border city on a ZANU PF program in early January, met the five councillors in his hotel room at the Holiday Inn.

The councilors, George Zveriseni, Tatenda Nhambarare, Pamela Mutare, Morgan Chipara and Sangani Mubatanhema, allegedly met Chombo without the knowledge of the MDC-T.

Details of the meeting were inadvertently revealed by Chombo during a question session by a Parliamentary Committee on gender. He was answering questions on why youths and women were not being afforded an opportunity to own houses in Zimbabwe.

One of the MP’s on the committee asked Chombo why he had suspended the Mutare Mayor, Brian James. His response was that MDC-T councillors had visited him in his hotel room and advised him to take action against James.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed Chombo’s revelations left the MDC-T horrified. The provincial leadership in Manicaland met on Saturday at the party headquarters to deliberate on the hotel visit and the suspension of James. The Mayor was suspended by Chombo on allegations of misconduct in late January. James’s suspension had left the MDC-T bewildered as they felt he was paying the price for fighting corruption.

Following their meeting in Mutare the MDC-T provincial leadership resolved to ignore Chombo’s suspension of James and ‘throw the so called suspension document in a public bin at the civic centre.’

According to resolutions from the meeting, which was chaired by the provincial vice chairman Shuah Mudiwa, the party wants to establish whether it is true that Chombo held a meeting with their councillors.

‘We want to know why if it is true that the councillors met Chombo without the authority of the party. That relationship is too close for our comfort and there are reports the meeting culminated in the suspension of James, meaning that our own councillors instigated that move,’ a senior official in the MDC-T said.

Mudiwa confirmed that a team comprising Kambuzuma MP Willas Madzimure, Senator James Makore, Dzivarasekwa MP Evelyn Masaiti and prominent Mutare lawyer David Tandire was set up look to look into the problems that have recently rocked the Mutare City Council.

Mudiwa said the team was mandated to engage James on all matters to do with the city of Mutare and to probe the reasons why council financial books have not been audited since the dollarization three years ago.

The team will also look into the circumstances surrounding the fraud charges levelled against councillor Xavier Upare. It is alleged he facilitated the payment of $300,000 to a Harare based contractor to replace valves on the city’s water pipes.

‘It’s over a year since the contractor was paid and nothing has been done to the pipes. Moreover Upare is alleged to have received a thank you payment of $30,000 from the businessman for facilitating the deal. That money was deposited into Upare’s Barclays account,’ the MDC-T officials claimed.

He added:‘We have the Pungwe Breweries which is wholly owned by council but whose books have not been audited for years. The team was tasked to find out possible and suspected illegal land sales and who benefited from the illegal transactions.’

The official, who asked not to be named, said this is what James wanted done but was then suspended, leading to suspicions of underhand dealings by the MDC-T councillors and Chombo. – SW Radio Africa News

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