HARARE – Parliamentarians yesterday castigated Local Government Urban and Rural Development minister Ignatius Chombo for political patronage and nepotism in appointing special interest councillors.
The legislators also blasted the minister’s appalling meddling in local authorities.
Lynette Karenyi, MDC MP for Chimanimani West and chairperson of Local Government and Urban Development parliamentary portfolio committee presented a special report to the august house condemning Chombo’s leadership qualities.
The committee recommended that Chombo practise professionalism in the administration of council affairs by ensuring that the law is not applied selectively and that special interest councillors should truly represent the interest of special groups.
“The appointment of special interest councillors to serve in the various local authorities left a lot to be desired,” Karenyi said. “The minister alluded to the fact that different parties could present their candidates to be considered as special interest councillors in the various councils.
However, Chombo did not inform the political parties which special interests their parties would present.
“The majority of the special interest did not bring in any special interest to the councils. Instead the special interest councillors appointed by the minister to represent interest groups in different local authorities came from one party, Zanu PF.”
Some of the councillors mentioned were Esau Mupfumi, Zanu PF Central Committee member in Mutare, Monica Chinamasa, wife of Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Alfred Tome, Harare provincial administrator, and Tapiwa Matangaidze, a Zanu PF loyalist.
Karenyi said there seemed to be selective application of the law when dealing with cases of misconduct by councillors.
“The committee could not comprehend the logic of imposing different disciplinary measures for similar offences by councillors in the same ministry. Some were dismissed, others were pardoned, cautioned or suspended for exactly the same offence,” said Karenyi.
She said Chombo disregarded the laws of the country by dismissing councillors who had been acquitted by the courts.
Blessing Chebundo, MDC MP for Mbizo, seconded the report, describing Chombo as the “worst minister” who had performed dismally.
He said the minister had to be ashamed of the corruption by the councillors he was protecting. Chombo informed the committee that he suspended the councillors for corruption and said they were not following the laid down procedures in conducting their duties.
He blamed the mayors for allowing cases of impropriety to flourish with the local authorities. He said he had given the councillors the chance to explain extricate them but had failed to do so.