Chombo directive haunts councils


MDC-T councillors and mayors drawn from across the country yesterday told their party leader that their revenue levels had plummeted to unsustainable levels following a June 2013 directive by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo compelling all local authorities to write-off residents’ debts.


The councillors told their party leader that they were now collecting far less than their recurrent expenditure as a result of Chombo’s directive.

The former prime minister also heard that most MDC-T dominated authorities were being sabotaged by government officials in a bid to discredit the opposition party.

In a statement, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said: “He (Tsvangirai) was shocked at the information he received from the mayors on how service delivery had been grievously undermined by political interference particularly from Zanu PF politicians.

“It emerged in the meeting that revenues had dwindled in almost all the local authorities especially after Chombo ordered councils to cancel all debts in the run-up to the July 31 election.”

As a result of the dwindling revenue, the council bosses told Tsvangirai that councils were failing to pay workers and were not investing in delivery projects like water and sanitation, roads, refuse collection and housing.

In Gweru, revenue has reportedly dwindled from $2 million per month to $500 000 against a salary bill of about $600 000.

“In Chitungwiza, which turned out to have the most problems, revenues dwindled to $1 million per month against a wage bill of $1,7 million, meaning there will be nothing for service delivery and other capital expenditure,” Tamborinyoka said.

The city fathers also told Tsvangirai that they were facing resistance from council management and were denied access to salary schedules for top management.

The councillors argued that the salary schedules would help inform them on whether they were in compliance with government’s recommended 70:30 service delivery/salary ratio.

In Harare, councillors have held three meetings so far in a bid to convince the town clerk Tendai Mahachi to produce the executive’s salary schedule, but all in vain.

“Other problems that emerged ranged from acute housing backlogs in almost all the councils due to shortage of land, poor refuse collection, poor roads and water and sanitation as well as unplanned settlements mostly spearheaded by Zanu PF barons.”


  1. Rates must refuse to pay for non-service delivery as it now seems that the core business of local authorities is the payment of obscene salaries and perks to mgt. If the salary and perks of the president is public knowledge, what is it that mgt hiding to their paymasters (the ratepayers)?

  2. Councils please stop looting and buying expensive cars and start serving the people. Gweru council ís spending on executives some of them known to be corrupt to the bone. VanaChingwadza.

  3. the core bussiness of council is to pay obscene salaries to its senior non-councillor management. the thing is most of these senior managers and directors of departments have been in councils for 20 years or so and they are die hard zanu supporters. chombo installed them there during the days when councillors were still zanu pf and apparently only chombo and not elected councillors can fire these incompetent zanu senior council managers.

  4. What was cancelled was unpaid debts. Month after month people were not paying. How does this translate on to a reduction of cash inflows? If rate-payers had paid off their debts the income levels were still going to drop back to the figures that they talk about now? How would these Councils solve their problems? By ballooning residents’ bills to get back them into debt? Had they employed more staff from own political parties on the strength of money that was going to come from the debts? Why are they not going back to the Minister or reverting to the lawcourts to force their executives to reveal their pay packs? Where does the power lie, in the councillors or in the townclerks and their departmental managers? They think and talk about housing and other services now but, which of these councils ever built houses where and when? Why not rationalise, restructure and streamline management functions, including disposing of excess officers, to bring down the salary bill to levels that can be supported by Council resources? Reduce, even, the number of Wards in a given Council, i.e. enlarge each Ward by combining it with one or more existing ones, as part of channelling resources to where they are essentially needed most.

    • Some of us who were paying our bills diligently stopped doing so after the cancelation because it was blatantly unfair. We had been carrying the burden for a long time only for chombo to reward the free riders.

  5. please mdc t councillors stop being crying babies, when you contested you knew very well that chombo’s directive had eroded the councils’ revenue, we want leadership which is innovative and hardworking. think of other ways of making revenue rather than dweling in the past. if you continue behaving like people with no brains ,count my vote as already gone to some other party.

  6. this is my beloved party’s way of dealing with so-called enemies, mdc et al
    they ignore the subborn fact that they are dealing with zimbabweans in zimbabwe. can the honourable minister tell me why foreign nations can provide necessities to zimbos out there yet in our home soil one has to kneel down for a service to be rendered. nxa
    When Zanu got in power it meant…..
    company closures
    above 75% import duty in merchandise
    substandard public transport system
    obsolete roads
    parastatals posting obscene losses
    commodity prices higher than those in NewYork City or Tokyo
    Being friends with nations like China, Venezuela, Iran and North Korea
    grain reserves going empty
    soldiers, nurses, teachers even police all in combi to work
    over promise under deliver or dont deliver at all
    pay no bills
    corruption became the normal way of life
    lying to the nation became an art
    how do you stay in a position for 33years and you never make a mistake in what you do or fail to do uuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!

  7. @ mr moyo…if yu hev nothing to say bamwana nyararai, wen u say councillors must be innovative wat do u mean. can u yourself suggest one way they can use to execute their duties without being hindered politically. iyi haisi scholarly debate ka yekuti u just have to say something , uhwu hupenyu hwedu huri pamuromo pechombo puriziiii, vhoti yenyu garai nayo asi morapa chaipo pane chirwere kwete kukosha wen u hev nothin to offer bamwana … ndatenda

  8. Its funny how learned people try to twist things to suit their agenda. That directive was given to cancel unpaid debts. How do debts not being paid translate to cash receipts. This is insane. Councils were after all fleesing unsuspecting rate payers through inflated bills.

  9. @lwazie… Obviously those who had their debts cancelled are still not paying & some of those who were paying before are no longer paying now becoz they know another cancellation may come in future. This results in reduced overall revenue collection. Zvimwe zvinoda chikoro vakomana

  10. No guys yu are all missing the point here, we are living in a failed state. Nothing is functioning in zim. Everyone is living by hook ‘n crook. Look at the teachers when they charge us for extra lessons for our children, look at police on the roadblocks and how many are they from Harare to Beitbridge.chombo and mdc are like oil and water, the two don’t blend unless yu apply a great deaal of heat. Lets wait until that time when they will not be able to pay themselves. Sokuona kwangu ini, musoja uchatengesa pfuti kikikikikikikiki.

  11. Pasi na Chombo! Ziva kuti kuita minister we local government hais firapo nguva yokusiya is nigh. Uchamama chete NeZanu yako! Makanzuru haasi maFarm ako awakatorera varungu akawanda leave them to act independently and sustain themselves! Pasi newe chombo
    Goso goso

  12. what a blunder…mr minister….in as much as we wellcome the idea,we dont want to sideline the fact that local authorities have already incured costs in the provision of such services…costs incured in anticipation of revenue. If yu want the debts to be cancelled,fine thats a noble idea but yu shld remember that on ther end the city is idebted simply bcos her debtors has been labelled bad n subsequently written off….Mr ministor yu shld compernsate for all debts written off.

  13. How much is Tendai Mahachi earning?

    If its true that he earns $18000 plus then why do we blame chombo.

    The ZBZ way shoud take its toll.

    The council bosses should be suspended and investigations should continue

  14. How many rate payers are needed to raise enough money to pay the salary and packs of one council senior executive? Is it not more than a whole suburb; and so where will the money for service delivery come from. This is daylight robbery of residents by council employees, and one wonders where are our political masters when such injustice is being perpetrated to the common people. Where on earth have you had of a housing officer who earns over $10000-00 per month; where!!!! where!!!!wherer!!!!. Please politicians where is justice when a similarly qualified civil servant earns $500-00 while a council employee earns $18000-00 when both government and councils are non-profit making entities. Why is the cabinet and parliament quiet about this injustice against and theft from the common people? Oh GOD!!!

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