Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is meddling with day-to-day operations of local authorities so much that he wants to prescribe how many teaspoons of sugar a Mayor may have in his tea.
This was said by Movement for Democratic Change Shadow Minister for Local Government Sesel Zvidzai today in a statement in which he called on the government to pass an Act of Parliament to establish metropolitan and provincial councils as enshrined in the new constitution.
The establishment of the councils would prevent Chombo from meddling with the operations of the local authorities because the new constitution provides for three tiers of government, each working co-operatively with the others with no room for micromanagement of lower tiers governments by central government, Zvidzai said.
Chombo’s meddling has seriously affected service delivery leaving residents at a high risk from communicable diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
The Minister was also protecting corrupt council officials like Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi, Zvidzai said. Mahachi was suspended by the mayor after he failed to submit the salaries of senior council employees but was reinstated by Chombo
“The reversal by Chombo of the suspension of Tendai Mahachi, the town clerk for Harare is an indication that Chombo and ZANU- PF have a lot of illegal and corrupt activities going on in Harare and other municipalities that they are shamelessly protecting.
“We demand that the huge salaries being paid these senior officials in local authorities be investigated so that revenue collected from ratepayers is responsibly deployed in a manner that allows for achievement of better is service delivery,” he said.
Wednesday,12 February 2014
Press Statement by the MDC Shadow Minister for Local Government, Hon. Sesel Zvidzai
The MDC is strongly concerned by the continued delays in establishing an Act of Parliament that will result in the birth of metropolitan and provincial councils as enshrined in the country’s new Constitution.
The urgent establishment of the metropolitan and provincial councils will definitely go a long way in monitoring, investigating and reigning in the illegal and corrupt activities taking place in most local councils.
The councils will be responsible for the social and economic development in the province and the office bearers will be accountable to the residents and not to some individuals, such as the Minister of Local Government whose only impetus is political opportunism and crass partisanship.
The MDC’s demands come as the party notes with serious concerns the continued unnecessary , illegal and objectionable interference by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in the operations of the local councils across the country especially those that are in the control of the MDC.
Such moves by Chombo are unlawful and unconstitutional, for the new constitution provides for three tiers of government, each working co-operatively with the others with no room for micromanagement of lower tiers governments by central government.
Chombo’s intrusions in the day to day operations of the country’s 92 local councils, including wanting to prescribe how many teaspoons of sugar a Mayor may have in his tea, have resulted in the serious decline of service delivery leaving residents at a high risk of Stone Age, communicable diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Furthermore, and indeed regrettably the populist directive of Zanu PF announced by Chombo just before last year’s elections where he instructed all local councils to slash outstanding debt of ratepayers has resulted in the councils failing to provide adequate service delivery such as water, removal of refuse and sewer, the repairing of roads, street lights and paying salaries for council employees to the detriment service delivery.
While Chombo and Zanu PF are busy gambling with the people’s lives at the expense of improved service delivery, senior council management in most local councils are also awarding themselves obscene and corrupt salaries while also engaged in fraudulent activities, under the watch of Minister Chombo”s approving eye and protective hand.
This is all happening notwithstanding that it abates the skew between resource deployed for human capital compensation and service delivery, which fails to meet the 30/70 benchmark.
Chombo in turn is protecting these senior officials in their corrupt activities instead of ensuring that this rot is brought to an end. The reversal by Chombo of the suspension of Tendai Mahachi, the town clerk for Harare is an indication that Chombo and Zanu PF have a lot of illegal and corrupt activities going on in Harare and other municipalities that they are shamelessly protecting.
We demand that the huge salaries being paid these senior officials in local authorities be investigated so that revenue collected from ratepayers is responsibly deployed in a manner that allows for achievement of better is service delivery.
Of serious concern too, is the recent revelation that senior officials in the City of Harare misappropriated nearly US$100 million from a loan of US$144, 4 million from the China Export and Import Bank that was meant for sewage and water reticulation infrastructure rehabilitation by inflating tender and procurement and price distortions.
Yet no arrests and prosecution have been carried out as those that have been implicated have been identified as having very close links to Zanu PF. This level of corruption must be brought to an end now, without any delay and perpetrators brought to book without fear or favour, should this country move forward.
Frustrated ratepayers are now reluctant to pay their hard earned money for rates and other services thereby further affecting the operations of the already struggling local authorities.
The MDC also strongly condemns the illegal demolitions that are underway in Seke and Chitungwiza where Zanu PF has targeted to destroy over 14 000 houses. Nothing can beat such cruelty. These demolitions are illegal because they have not been authorised through a court order as provided for in Section 74 of the Constitution.
The mess that has been created in Chitungwiza Town is the baby of none other than Minister Chombo who has presided over the municipality through several bogus commissions including the Fungai Mbetsa commission. It is this very Mbetsa commission which corruptly parcelled out stands on council land that was earmarked for other purposes.
As a Party of Excellence, the MDC demands that Zanu PF stops protecting its corrupt members and that corrupt people like Fraderick Mabamba be arrested and prosecuted for illegally selling council land in Chitungwiza.
We demand that Chombo keeps his hands to himself, very far away from elected councils, which councils should exercise their responsibilities as provided for in the supreme law of the land for the good of the communities they stand for.
We further demand that corrupt and obscene salaries such as are stolen from the people by Mahachi and his team be reduced without any delay, and that the culprits be relieved of their jobs.
The MDC remains committed to the creation and sustenance of a local government system that enjoys the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe through its capacity to deliver quality service democratically, proactively and always mindful to its answerability to the local populace.
I thank you