Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya has scoffed at moves by the Local Government Ministry to investigate him over accusations of â€œsabotagingâ€ water disconnection exercises in his constituency by employees of the city council among other â€œdisturbances to operations of Gweru City Council.â€
Recently the councilâ€™s Revenue Enhancement Team, comprised of council workers tasked with squeezing out cash from the cityâ€™s debtors including residents, accused the outspoken MP of frustrating their work through encouraging rate-payers in his constituency to â€œsabotageâ€ water disconnections.
They also accused the MDC-Tâ€™s national executive committee member of lobbying rate-payers in his constituency to boycott payments of water charges to the council in protest over the on-going disconnections to defaulters.
This prompted the ministryâ€™s permanent secretary, George Mlilo, to dispatch an investigating team to look into the matter. In a letter in the possession of The Zimbabwean addressed to Town Clerk Daniel Matau and copied to provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Mlilo wrote that a team of investigators, who are currently in the city, should also probe Chibaya on allegations of violence against council workers.
â€œCouncillor Cathrine Mhondiwa (Ward 13) arranged for the beating of employees and then with the help of MP Chibaya forced the complainants to withdraw the charges,â€ says part of Mliloâ€™s letter, which also sums up the brief of the probe team that has been in town since last week.
However in an interview on the side-lines of a parliamentary report back meeting held at Mkoba hall over the weekend, Chibaya said Mlilo was off-side. â€œI am not accountable to the ministry of Local government.
As parliamentarians, we form a totally different and independent arm of government- the legislature. Ministries are under the executive with the judiciary forming the third independent arm. It is therefore a waste of time and scarce resources for Mlilo to set up a team that he says should investigate me,â€ said Chibaya.
He added that as an MP he had an obligation of interpreting â€œlaws of the land to my people especially on critical issues such as water.â€
â€œThe constitution says itâ€™s a right for every person to have access to clean water. Itâ€™s a right not a need, so in terms of issues to do with water this is what I have been telling people in my constituency. I however never sabotaged any efforts by council to disconnect water – even though I knew that the High Court had outlawed such moves,â€ he said.Post published in: Featured