Chombo told villagers at Gomorefu Secondary School in Marange that Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, was responsible for the hardships they were facing because he was deliberately underfunding developmental projects in rural areas. He said the rural district authorities in the last three years received less than $20 million from Biti as compared to urban local authorities which received $300 million. The MDC-T, Biti’s party, dominates rural district authorities.
Chombo told villagers that the gains won by Zanu (PF) had been reversed by the imposition of sanctions by Western countries, adding that they should embrace President Robert Mugabe`s empowerment programmes such as the Community Share Ownership Trust, which he said would restore capacity of local authorities to effectively deliver services. A local economist, Tendai Makanya said it was cheap propaganda for Chombo to blame Biti for the poor performance of rural district councils saying poor management, corruption and political interference were barriers to efficient service delivery by such institutions.
“The minister should not use Biti as a scapegoat. He is behind the collapse of service delivery in the local authorities in both rural and urban areas because of his political interference. He should leave the councils to operate independently,” said Makanya.