The MDC-T in Mutare has set up a probe team to investigate allegations of corruption, mismanagement and backbiting levelled against its councillors.
MDC-T Mutare provincial spokesperson Pishayi Muchauraya said the five-member team would also investigate circumstances leading to the suspension of Mutare mayor Brian James by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last month.
The setting-up of an MDC-T probe team follows the appointment of a similar team by Chombo to investigate the same allegations.
“The team will look into circumstances surrounding the fraud charges against some councillors which saw the council losing out millions of dollars. They will also find out if councillors were not influenced by management in coming up with certain decisions which resulted in the recent fallout,” said Muchauraya.
“The team is expected to establish whether it is true that Chombo held a meeting with MDC-T councillors in his private hotel room in Mutare and why, if it is true. They will submit the report on February 18 and the party will act on that report. Appropriate action will be taken on anyone who is found wanting because we are on a mission to weed out corruption in the party.”
The five-member probe team will be led by provincial vice-chairman and Mutare West MDC-T MP Shuah Mudiwa and senior party members, who include Willas Madzimure, James Makore, Evelyn Masaiti and lawyer David Tandire.
Muchauraya said the party’s provincial executive met on Sunday and resolved the probe team start work immediately and submit its findings on February 18.
“We resolved to ignore Chombo’s suspension and throw the so-called suspension letters in a public bin at the civic centre. We will engage the mayor (James) on all matters to do with the city of Mutare,” said Muchauraya.
However, some councillors in the MDC-T-dominated council described the stance as a witch-hunting exercise.
“I smell a rat over this probe team. Why are we branded as sell-outs in a matter between Chombo and James? We should have a collective position as a party and stop this intimidation because it gives Chombo unfair advantage to descend on us all,” said a councillor who requested anonymity.
Meanwhile, Mutare residents have reportedly signed a petition deploring Chombo’s alleged interference in council affairs.