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Probe Chombo—MDC-T

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MDC-T has reacted angrily to the suspension of seven of its Harare councillors and moved to call upon the inclusive government to probe allegations of corruption by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and property mogul Phillip Chiyangwa.
Last week, Chombo suspended the MDC-T councillors on allegations of illegally evicting tenants from Highfield, Dzivarasekwa and Glen Norah.
The party accused Chombo of “looting Harare City Council property and engaging in corrupt activities and abuse of office”.
It alleged Chombo was on the warpath against MDC – T-led councils countrywide and plans to replace them with Zanu PF apologists who lost elections in 2008.
Chombo and Chiyangwa were named in a 54-page damning report by council involving what the city fathers said was a land scam.
However, the two have refuted the allegations saying all was above board and that the councillors put the cart before the horse.
“The MDC calls upon the inclusive government to urgently investigate Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo for abuse of office following the illegal suspension from office of seven MDC Harare councillors,” read the statement.
“The MDC notes with concern that Chombo continues to unnecessarily interfere in the operations of MDC-T-led councils across the country, having managed to foist losing Zanu PF local government candidates as special interest councillors.”
The special councillors are known Zanu PF activists who once caused furore at a Harare full council meeting where they were labelled Chombo’s spies.
“We urge the police to immediately follow up on Chombo’s case of blatant abuse of office. We strongly reject Chombo’s continued machinations to further the interests of Zanu PF, which was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters in March 2008.”
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said Chombo’s decision was null and void.
“The suspension of councillors is a typical case of an accused person storming into a police station and ordering the arrest of the investigating officers,” he said.
Last week, Chombo suspended seven MDC Harare councillors for allegedly illegally evicting tenants from Highfield, Dzivarasekwa and Glen Norah.
Six of the suspended councillors are Silas Machetu (Ward 25, Highfield), Peter Marange (Ward 29, Glen Norah), Johnson Zaranyika (Ward 39, Dzivarasekwa), Paul Gorekore (Ward 3, Mbare), Wellington Katsande (Ward 26, Highfield) and Herbert Gomba (Ward 27, Glen Norah).
Councillors have also reacted angrily to the decision by Chombo saying it was a ploy to silence and cripple the operations at Town House.
“This is what we call intimidation of councillors by Chombo and it is evident that the accused have no case to answer,” said one councillor.
“If he thinks he can intimidate us then we will not be intimidated.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently told journalists at Harvest House, his party’s headquarters, that the intimidation of councillors had become a political matter he was discussing with his archrival in the shaky coalition President Robert Mugabe. Chombo last week also fired a senior Rusape council official and five MDC-T councillors, including the council chairperson, after they led a revolt against him early this year. He immediately replaced them with Zanu PF activists.

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