Chombo uses councilors as spies

The Elected Councillors’ Association of Zimbabwe has accused Local Government and National Housing Minister, Ignatius Chombo, of using special interest councillors to spy on council affairs.

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

In a letter to Chombo dated July 31, 2012, Ecaz accused the minister of making all his decisions based on clandestine meetings he held with the special interest councillors.

Emmanual Chinanzvavana, who is Secretary for the Welfare and Community Development committee, signed the letter. Ecaz said the special interest councillors represented no constituency and had no capacity to speak on behalf of Harare residents.

“As elected councillors with the people’s mandate we would like to remind your office that Special Interest Councillors have no constituency and therefore have no capacity to speak on behalf of councils,” reads the letter. ‘‘It is equally important that the Special Interest Councillors’ constituency is your ministry, hence holding sporadic meetings with your nominees about the people’s council constitutes running a parallel government structure at the expense of public funds.”

Ecaz said the special interest councillors should be put on the Ministry of Local Government payroll as they were playing an intelligence role for the ministry and not benefitting council. It said the councillors, who were handpicked by Chombo, were confusing council technocrats as they had no defined role.

“It is therefore important that you define or redefine the role of these gentlemen in councils to allow progress because they have destroyed constructive debate in council since they have become spies rather than members,” the letter concludes.

Chombo denied ever meeting the special interest councillors clandestinely, saying they had only written to him expressing concern over the non- availability of a strategic plan at the City of Harare.

He added that Ecaz was a group of ‘‘uneducated MDC councillors’’ who were not qualified to run council. He rubbished claims that the special interest councillors had become his spies, saying they were merely doing their job of advising council where necessary.

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