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Mutare mayor challenges Chombo


Embattled Mutare mayor Brian James has challenged Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to provide reasons for his suspension.

However, it looks unlikely Chombo will budge as he accuses James of several acts of misconduct.
Yesterday James said: I wrote to the minister (Chombo) to demand answers on the allegations that prompted my suspension.

The allegations should clearly be stated so that I know what went wrong. I am still demanding answers and I am prepared to work for Mutare again once residents demand that I get back to the civic centre.

But, Chombo on Monday told Parliament he was left with no option, but to suspend James, alleging the mayor was disregarding his orders.

The Mayor in Mutare even went to South Africa to ask a company called KV3 to do a budget for the city. I had given them three warnings, but he took $4 000 and paid it to his personal lawyers on issues that had nothing to do with council and I fired him, said Chombo.

The minister, who was appearing before the Parliamentary thematic committee on gender and community development, also justified his clampdown on councillors countrywide, most of whom are from the MDC-T.

There are two issues there is genuine misunderstanding of what councillorship is all about and the majority of councillors in urban councils are unemployed and so they go and sit at council offices and disturb people working there while looking for ways to benefit using corrupt tendencies, said Chombo.

A majority of them did not have cars and suits, but now they have them and that is happening in urban authorities and the other problem is that councillors chair procurement committees.

Chombo told the committee that in Mutare for example, an item which was supposed to cost $195 was quoted at $695 through corruption.

Following James suspension, word doing the rounds in Mutare is that some of his fellow MDC-T councillors betrayed him to Chombo to seeking reprieve for corrupt tendencies reported in council chambers.

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