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Hands Off Local Government, Zimbabwe Minister Warns Politicians

Zimbabwe Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has warned politicians against interfering with municipal authorities, saying this undermines city operations.

Speaking Wednesday night in Highfield, Harare, Chombo said some senior politicians from the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change have involved themselves so far as to supervise council employees.

Chombo's statement comes not long after a conciliatory statement from officials of the ruling party in Harare province. The ZANU-PF provincial body had been critical of the Harare Commission and its chairman, Sekesai Makwavarara, demanding she resign.

But the Harare provincial party committee more recently came out and supported her reappointment, saying it intended to give Makwavarara time to deliver results. So Chombo's broadside against interfering politicians was somewhat surprising.

Harare North member of parliament Trudy Stevenson told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that when it comes to interfering with local councils Chombo is the worst offender of all and should himself stop his meddling.

Chombo is accused of having masterminded the removal in 2004 of Harare's last elected mayor, Elias Mudzuri, who is now organizing secretary of the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...