Harare councillors held a full council meeting on Thursday and resolved to call Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to explain to them the basis of his dismissal of the four councillors whom he sacked last week.
Council also demanded that Chombo makes public the full reports of the investigating teams that purportedly found the councillors guilty of offences for which they recommended their dismissal.
All three teams appointed by the minister to investigate the same case against the councillors have not made their reports available to the mayor or the council which is supposed to pay them for the job.
““The council condemns the dismissal of the four councillors as a result of a hearing instigated by Chombo who had been implicated of unlawful conduct by the very same councillors that he has now fired,” council said in a motion which was adopted on Thursday night.
“In the view that Minister Chombo is not an impartial actor in the issue of the dismissed councillors, the minister should avail to the Harare residents on whose behalf he purports to act the full reports of both the Kwenda-chaired investigating team and the Makoni board of enquiry in order to place these reports under public scrutiny.”
The councillors said the timing of the appointment of the investigating teams by Chombo was questionable as it came while the councillors were investigating the minister over alleged land theft.
“The allegation against Minister Chombo was backed by solid documentary evidence which included a letter that he wrote on behalf of his company called Harvest-Net. The very next day, March 24, 2010, Minister Chombo appointed the Kwenda-chaired team to investigate the affairs of the Harare City Council.”
Part of the letter written by Chombo while applying for land on behalf of his company reads:
“I have identified a vacant piece of land in Avondale on corner West and Lomagundi Road, the remainder of stand number 48. I wish therefore to apply for this stand to put a supermarket to service residents in the area.”
Councillor Panganai Charumbira said the stand was then transferred to Chombo, but was never been paid for. He said it was curious for Chombo to claim to have discovered a stand as if the municipality was not aware of its properties.
“By claiming to have discovered unoccupied land in Avondale, Chombo is trying to say he is like David Livingstone who claimed to have discovered the Victoria Falls or Christopher Columbus who discovered the Americas,” said Charumbira, who was part of the team which investigated the land scandal.