Tension is mounting between Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and his deputy Sessel Zvidzai over the fate of Kwekwe city treasurer Albert Zingwe, who was fired by the Local Government Board (LGB) early this month.
Chombo recently directed the local authority to reinstate Zingwe, who was relieved of his duties on allegations of theft, fraud and insubordination.
However, yesterday Zvidzai sang from a different hymn book and urged the local authority to stick to its guns.
“That directive is illegal because it has no power to rescind the confirmation of Zingwe’s dismissal, which was issued by the competent Local Government Board . . . I am sure the council knows how to deal with illegal instructions,” said Zvidzai.
The deputy minister, who once said his boss ran the ministry “like a bedroom”, told NewsDay Chombo was the one who set up the LGB and had acted on a number of its recommendations, which included the firing of Harare councillors, hence he should respect its determination on Zingwe.
“The LGB was set up by the minister and is led by one renowned lawyer (Pisirayi) Kwenda. He has done a lot of work for the ministry, which the minister has accepted.
“Surely, after Kwekwe followed all due processes in dismissing a man accused of stealing ratepayers’ money, the minister can’t be seen protecting such a man?” said Zvidzai. Meanwhile, audit manager Morris Mutema is still acting treasurer, but insiders said Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa and the MDC –T dominated council were consulting on the way forward following Chombo’s directive.