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Chombo admits chaos

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Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday admitted that the community share ownership schemes were riddled with problems and confusion amid reports that mines and locals have started clashing.

This was also confirmed by various stakeholders including provincial administrators, chief executive officers of rural district councils and local officials from local authorities at yesterday’s workshop to discuss issues to do with ownership schemes.

“I have noted with concern that community share ownership trusts are not functional even in districts where the schemes have been launched by the President (Robert Mugabe). That is unacceptable,” said Chombo.

“Whatever the reason is, their business is to put things right. My officers should act quickly. That’s why we called them so that harmony is strengthened. Even if they consult four times, what I want is to be called to see dams and other projects they would have done,” said Chombo.

He said there were underhand dealings that have resulted in illegal staff recruitment and he said all recruitment was null and void.

“We have noted with dismay that some had already embarked on a process to recruit staff to manage the trust business while the same trust is yet to be formally constituted,” he said.

“The questions to ask are: Who is recruiting the staff in question, with whose authority? Who will the staff be accountable to, are they going to be loyal to the trust and government? Needless to say any decisions that were taken by anybody before trusts are formally constituted is null and void. For the avoidance of doubt, no company (inside or outside the trust) should be allowed to hijack or dictate the direction of the Community Share Ownership Scheme. PAs (Provincial Administrators) and DAs (District Administrators) are under instructions to ensure adherence to this position. In the same vein, I wish to direct that, with immediate effect, no trust meetings should be held anywhere else other than in RDC (Rural District Council) or DA’s offices.”

A representative from the ministry of Youth who read a speech on behalf of minister Savior Kasukuwere said: “The challenges we have include greed and corruption by other members of the trust who want to line their pockets. These are the kind of challenges that we will face where our brothers and sisters will be used as fronts to defend other people’s interests.”

President Mugabe launched the schemes in Mhondoro – Ngezi, Chegutu/ Zvimba, Tongogara and Zvishavane where each community was supposed to get $10 million for the trust.

Last year, Chief Nyika, whose jurisdiction covers Zimplats mine, accused the Zanu PF officials of sidelining him and threatened not to recognise the trust because his people had formed their own Mhondoro-Ngezi Community Development Foundation.

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