Ndabeni-Ncube brushes off government onslaught


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The mayor of Bulawayo Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube has brushed off accusations by the Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo that the Movement for Democratic Change-led council was playing politics with the water issue and was snubbing government efforts to assist in tackling the issue.

He also dismissed speculation that the government wanted to remove him or his council like it had already done with other MDC-led councils.

Chombo was reported to have blasted the local authority last week in an “exclusive” interview with the local daily. He was also reported to have accused the town clerk Moffat Ndlovu of having political leanings to the opposition and of “undermining” central government efforts to supply the city with water over the years.

The attacks, which were echoed by President Robert Mugabe who warned the council of stern action if it continued to frustrate Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai, were made in the run-up to the senate elections. The opposition won all five seats in Bulawayo province.

Ndabeni-Ncube said he was not bothered at all by the statements because this was mere politicking.

“I am not bothered at all. My conscience is very clear because we are running the council in the best possible professional manner. If people go to the extent of accusing the town clerk of having political leanings, I say that is bad politics,” the mayor said.

“There is no politics in the Bulawayo City Council. I have made it abundantly clear that from Monday 8am to Friday 5pm I work 100 percent for the Ministry of Local Government and for Chombo, but from Friday 5.30pm to Sunday evening, I do what I do best, MDC politics.

“From Monday to Friday, I run the council on behalf of Chombo. The mayor’ parlour is his office. He is free to come in any time without appointment. If I am not running the council properly he should tell me. I expect him to come to the office without any notice and see for himself what I am doing.”

The town clerk could not comment as he is currently on leave.

The Bulawayo City Council has been experiencing water problems for the past five moths and introduced water rationing in July when some of its supply dams ran dry.

Some high density suburbs, however, go without water for weeks because of low pressure. This prompted Chombo to accuse the mayor, the town clerk and senior council officials of neglecting the suburbs because they stayed in low density suburbs.

The council says that the government was told about the water problem in December last year but has been sitting on the problem.

Ndabeni-Ncube said he only realised that Chombo was in town last week when he read in the paper that the minister had blasted the council. But despite the media frenzy, he said, he was quite certain that the government would not remove him or his council.

“They will not remove us because, if this is work related, we are running the council in the best possible professional manner,” the mayor said.

(27 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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