Chombo leaks documents — Masunda

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The sharp differences between Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, which are crippling the smooth operations at Town House, seem inexorable.
Masunda said this week Chombo’s attitude was sometimes incredibly “irritating”.
He said while he acknowledged that Chombo oversees all local authorities countrywide there were other government ministries directly involved in municipal business but not as perpetually confrontational as Chombo’s.
Masunda said Chombo writes confidential communiqués to him but leaks the contents to the media before he receives them.
Such conduct, Masunda said was not only baffling but endangered the smooth running of the municipal affairs and damaged relations between Town House and the parent ministry.
“Sometimes Chombo has an irritating habit of doing things,” Masunda complained. “This behaviour damages relations and is detrimental to the smooth operations of council. He has a habit of writing letters addressed personally to me but copies of the letters find their way in the state media’s hands before they are in my hands.”
He went on: “Recently, before l had even read a letter the minister had written to me, l received a call from a journalist from the state media asking me questions based on copies of that letter.
“This defies logic. We fail as council to understand why he does that; being a professional that he is.”
Chombo has often clashed with Harare City Council on a number of issues including his alleged imposition of special interest councillors, orders of huge payments to a probe team that has yet to bring anything to the table, the construction of the Joshua Nkomo Airport Road and the acquisition of stands among other issues.
Chombo said everything he is doing is above board and within the confines of the Urban Councils Act and anyone who challenges decisions arrived at using that Act does so at his or her own peril.
“I feel comfortable with my role in the City of Harare so far,” Chombo said.
“Councillors should appraise themselves with the Urban Councils Act.
“They should seek advice on the Urban Council’s Act. If they could master the Act, we will have less areas of friction and fewer letters to their offices. I do not deal with the press directly. Letters I write go through many hands so I cannot be held responsible.
“I am also complaining that before completing investigations into the land swap deals between council, institutions and individuals, I saw my name in the papers and I was angry, but I kept my cool. Now that the media space has opened up, everyone has a paper to complain to.”
Chombo’s alleged interference in council business has courted the ire of councillors, some of whom are now vowing to ignore him. There were fireworks at a full council meeting recently when councillors attacked special interest councillors for involving themselves in matters the MDC-T city fathers say are none of their business such as addressing public meetings without the knowledge of elected councillors.