Residents have come out guns blazing against Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s abuse of power through interfering in local authorities’ governance by suspending and firing elected councillors.
The MDC-T, which dominates urban authorities in the country, has added its voice in castigating Chombo for his continued harassment of councillors.
The party has since asked the inclusive government to act and stop Chombo from intimidating councillors.
“This man (Chombo) really believes he is a law unto himself and gets away with everything he does. Where is the voice of MDC- T in all this?” asked one resident, Cuthbert Gombera.
Another resident questioned why they (residents) were made to vote for councillors if one man had the powers to dismiss them.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on Thursday said what Chombo was doing was abuse of office and his actions were a ploy by Zanu PF to regain what it lost in urban areas through elections.
“They are using unjust and unfair means to thwart the wishes of the people and to corrode the majority of the MDC in local authorities,” Chamisa said.
“All fingers are pointing out at Chombo and instead of finding out why those fingers are pointing at him, he is breaking those fingers,” Chamisa said.“Two things that are bedevilling service delivery in this country are Minister Chombo and Minister Chombo. Our appeal is to the inclusive government in its collective wisdom to stop these actions by Chombo.
“We are also calling for reforms in the Urban Councils Act to curtail the draconian and satanic powers abused by the minister,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he would not comment on the actions of the minister.
“I cannot comment on what the minister does. Why can’t you get hold of the minister himself?” said Gumbo.
The Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) added its voice in slamming the actions of Chombo whom they said must be investigated.
CHRA chairman Simbarashe Moyo said Chombo was not supposed to suspend the councillors or fire them as that was the duty of the residents who voted them into power.
“The councillors are not supposed to be fired by Chombo but it is the duty of the residents who voted them into power to recall them,” he said. A petition by CHRA was last year handed over to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office asking him to intervene and bring back the rule of law to the council.
So far Chombo has fired four councillors in Harare and two others were last week suspended.
NewsDay has it on good authority that seven other councillors are on the firing line and might be suspended for allegedly going on an unsanctioned trip to Durban, South Africa.
Chombo, who is believed to be on holiday, however insists what he is doing is above board and last year told NewsDay he would continue taking action against the councillors if they abused their powers without following the Urban Councils Act.