Chombo, Masunda on collision course

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The slashing of water tariffs by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has set him on a collision course with Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda who has labelled his moves as “politicking”.

Masunda said Chombo should stop politicking on sensitive matters such as service delivery to the city. Last week, Chombo announced water tariffs in all the country’s cities and towns had been slashed because they were not friendly to residents.

But Masunda said: “All I can say at this stage is that our GNU should wake up and smell the coffee in terms of the real costs of providing a world-class service to the expectant mothers at our polyclinics as well as supplying potable water to a hub of four million people in Greater Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth.

“It’s regrettable that with elections looming on the horizon, all the members of our GNU will be using service delivery issues for scoring Brownie points against each other.”

He added: “As it turns out I had a working luncheon with town clerk (Tendai Mahachi) and Josephine Ncube, the chamber secretary, to whom I expressed my grave misgivings about the inordinate delay on the part of the Ministry of Local Government in reverting to us on our budget. I will wait with bated breath for feedback from the ministry.”

Masunda said there was no support from the government hence residents should pay for the provision of quality services.

Councillors who spoke to NewsDay said this was an indication that Chombo was abusing his powers.

“What Chombo is trying to do is simple. He wants to strap us of resources and force residents to demonstrate against us,” said one councillor who refused to be named.

Recently, Chombo said there was no problem with residents demonstrating against council if they were not satisfied with services. Masunda last year questioned a call by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe for free services for maternity services.