Chombo insincere

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We read with amazement reports that barely two weeks after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo fired two special interest councillors and appointed a resuscitation team to investigate the affairs of Chitungwiza Town Council, the minister had reportedly appointed six special interest councillors to replace the pair.

No one has problems with Chombo appointing those qualified to run municipal affairs, but one will obviously take issue with the minister when he does it for political expediency – appointing Zanu PF apologists just to boost the former ruling party’s waning political fortunes.

Because of the haphazard manner in which Chombo has handled local authorities’ business in terms of service delivery, one can hardly disagree with Local Government deputy minister Sesel Zvidzai, who has repeatedly clashed with the minister accusing him of wanting to fire all MDC-T mayors in the country.

This is shown by the letters the minister wrote to Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda last year. But also, his actions in Chinhoyi, Mutare, Gweru, Bulawayo and other MDC-T-dominated councils give clear testimony that Chombo dislikes these councillors.

As a leader, Chombo should aim to balance his political aspirations with those of the residents. But, the fact that Zanu PF was defeated in elections means the public was tired of the way it does business.

So isn’t it curious that Chombo decided to appoint a resuscitation team and then six special interests councillors to replace only two people?

What rationale did Chombo use to compose his team of “special” interests councillors?

Whose interests is Chombo serving – those of Chitungwiza residents or his party?

Only last week, Chombo reportedly read the riot act to Chitungwiza Town Council following clashes between councillors and town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa, who himself is accused of financial impropriety.

Councillors tried to suspend him, but Tanyanyiwa defied the order arguing it had no legal standing, prompting Chombo to intervene.

It is curious that Chombo could fire two special interest councillors he had seconded to the council in the first place, accusing them of dereliction of duty, but spared Tanyanyiwa, whom the councillors accuse of abuse of office.

By his actions, it has become clear Tanyanyiwa is his “blue-eyed boy”. Instead of Chombo restoring order by putting some things right, he chose to confuse council so that he could have his way.

Now that he has dismissed some councillors and replaced them perhaps for not “doing their job” by not co-operating with him, every councillor seconded to Chitungwiza will now be indebted to the minister.

This is not healthy, and perhaps that explains why service delivery is crumbling at a fast pace countrywide, and disease outbreaks could be the order of the day going forward.

One wonders why Chombo is so determined to disable council operations when he is empowered by the Urban Councils Act to protect the interests of residents.

For how does one explain drafting in Joseph Macheka, a tired Zanu PF central committee member and former Zanu PF MP and executive mayor for Chitungwiza?

It is still fresh in the public’s minds that it was during Macheka’s mayorship that service delivery collapsed in Chitungwiza.

Zanu PF is fond of “recycling” its loyal cadres even if they were rejected by the electorate.

Chombo should have asked himself why Macheka lost both parliamentary and mayoral elections when Zanu PF was still in control.

It was simple — poor service, and nothing more. So what new ideas will the Macheka team bring in resuscitating the fortunes of the dormitory town?

Chombo should be ashamed of his actions. He has achieved nothing with his juggling except to plunge Chitungwiza further into the mire.

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