MDC-T to probe corruption

The MDC - T’s controversial audit of councils begins tomorrow, secretary for Local Government Sesel Zvidzai has confirmed.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora: This time we are serious.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora: This time we are serious.

Determined to tackle corruption, the party has set up a high-powered investigation team that Zvidzai said would be dispatched soon to ascertain whether party members serving as councillors around the country are involved in graft.

The party’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the probe was part of the move to stamp out corruption. Several councillors have been accused by residents of looting – particularly municipal stands which they allegedly allocate to themselves.

“We have a duty to our supporters and those who voted us into power, to establish whether or not they are being satisfied by the services they are receiving and if there are areas where there is need for improvement. We will engage the relevant minister, with the intention of bringing improvement,” said Mwonzora.

The Mayor of Harare, Muchadeyi Masunda, last year challenged councillors in the MDC-T dominated council to declare their assets – but to date not a single councillor has gone public.

In 2010 the party fired all its councillors in the Chitungwiza council after unearthing shocking details of corruption. The councillors were re-instated by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, and most of them, like Chombo, are now multiple standowners.

Allegations of corruption have been raised in most towns and cities run by MDC councillors.

But the accused officials say they are being trapped by the so-called special councillors appointed by Chombo in towns and cities in which Zanu (PF) was soundly defeated in local elections.

Worship Dumba, President of the Elected Councillors of Zimbabwe and one among several of MDC-T councillors who was suspended from Harare City Council by Chombo on corruption charges, welcomed the investigations but urged a review of the laws governing local authorities.

“I think it is a good idea to investigate councils but many councillors are trapped by the laws, which I think should be reviewedand made more understandable,” said Dumba.

It is not clear whether the MDC-T will go public with the findings of its audit. The results of a probe of some senior MDC-T officials two years ago hasstill not been made public.

But Mwonzora insisted that the party means business this time and is not just politicking ahead of elections.

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