The MDC formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Wednesday called on Local government Minister Ignatius Chombo to resign saying he has failed to deal with corruption in several municipalities countrywide.
The MDC-T shadow minister for local government, Sesil Zvidzai, told a news conference at his party's Harvest House headquarters in the capital that Chombo is protecting senior managers at several local authorities who are engaging in corrupt activities and earning huge salaries at the expense of service delivery.
Chombo recently ordered Harare Mayor Benard Manyenyeni to re-instate Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi whom he had suspended pending investigations into allegations of insubordination over his refusal to furnish councilors with documents containing salary schedules and information on perks of senior managers in the local authority.
"Chombo is protecting these senior officials in their corrupt activities instead of ensuring that this rot is brought to an end,” said Zvidzai. “The reversal by Chombo of the suspension of Tendai Mahachi is an indication that Chombo and Zanu PF have a lot of illegal and corrupt activities going on in Harare and other municipalities that they are shamelessly protecting.”
“We demand that the huge salaries being paid these senior officials in local authorities be investigated so that revenue collected from ratepayers is responsibly deployed in a manner that allows for achievement of better is service delivery.”
Zvidzai said the MDC-T Chombo should "keep his hands to himself, very far away from elected councils, which councils should exercise their responsibilities as provided for in the supreme law of the land for the good of the communities they stand for".
Zvidzai accused Minister Chombo of interfering in the management of several local authorities that he says has resulted in those councils failing to operate efficiently. Ahead of last year's disputed national elections, Chombo ordered all local authorities countrywide to cancel all debts owed by ratepayers.
"While Chombo and Zanu PF are busy gambling with the people's lives at the expense of improved service delivery, senior council management in most local councils are also awarding themselves obscene and corrupt salaries while also engaged in fraudulent activities, under the watch of Minister Chombo’s approving eye and protective hand," he said.
Meanwhile, Zvidzai urged President Robert Mugabe's government to speedily establish provincial councils in all the country's ten provinces in line with the new constitution adopted in March last year.
"The MDC is strongly concerned by the continued delays in establishing an Act of Parliament that will result in the birth of metropolitan and provincial councils as enshrined in the country's new Constitution," he said.
Zvidzai added the urgent establishment of the metropolitan and provincial councils would go a long way in monitoring, investigating and reigning-in illegal and corrupt activities taking place in most local councils.
Instead of setting up provincial councils, Mr. Mugabe acted outside the Constitution and appointed Provincial Ministers.