Bulawayo deputy mayor Amen Mpofu yesterday accused former Zanu PF councillors of instigating the ongoing government probe into the local authority to deter council from repossessing incubator shops they are leasing.
Last week, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo set up a team led by Finnie Munyira to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against the MDC-T-led council.
“When they made a courtesy call, they told me that one of the reasons they are probing council was that a lot of people from Bulawayo made a lot of noise and said some even wrote letters to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, claiming that Bulawayo City Council is corrupt,” Mpofu said.
“Chombo is empowered under the Urban Councils Act to probe local authorities, Bulawayo included. Anyone against this is not doing the residents of this beautiful city any favour.
“What is wrong is probing for the sake of pleasing party members. It becomes political.”
Mpofu said some of the people “making noise” were those refusing to vacate “council incubator shops” they were leasing.
“These are people who signed 10-year leases and know very well that you move out after the expiry and others take over and do the same so that everyone benefits,” he said.
“What is shocking is that some are known former Zanu PF councillors who are renting these shops. They are now trying to ignore the resolution they supported during their term. Can the council be probed for such a straightforward thing? Should residents of Bulawayo pay hotel bills, Press advertisements for such a naughty issue?”
Mpofu said allegations that his party’s councillors wanted the shops for themselves were false.
Last week, some civil society organisations in Bulawayo dismissed the investigation as a farce and alleged it was part of a plot by Chombo, who is a Zanu PF Politburo member, to interfere in the operations of MDC-T councils especially in urban areas where the former sole ruling party suffered heavy losses in the last elections in 2008.