Public outrage has stirred among Zimbabweans following disclosures of the extensive assets of Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo through divorce proceedings, with political opponents calling for an audit.
The state-run Herald newspaper reported on Friday that the Chombo divorce case is set for a High Court hearing as the couple have failed to agree on a settlement sharing property estimated to run into millions of dollars.
Chombo’s estranged wife Marian wants half of the marital property including 15 high-end vehicles, houses in a number of locations around the country and several residential building lots.
She is also demanding properties in neighboring South Africa, hunting safari lodges in the Chiredzi district of south-eastern Masvingo Province, and an unnamed mine in Mvuri, Mashonaland Central province.
VOA was unable to reach Chombo or his wife for comment on the disclosures or the corruption allegations.
The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for Chombo’s removal from government accusing him of profiting from his office. "Chombo must simply be relieved of his official duties and called to account as he is clearly unfit for public office," the MDC said in a statement.
Spokesman Rodrick Fayayo of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association said Bulawayo residents are incensed to learn that Chombo owns three residential stands and two houses in the city while thousands of residents in the Matebeleland capital have been on the waiting list for building lots or housing for years.
"It is obscene that in Bulawayo we have a housing backlog of over 90 000 people who have been on the waiting list for years now, yet Chombo has multiple properties all over the country," he told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo.
Political commentator John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe, a former chairman of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International in Zimbabwe, said Chombo’s wealth should be investigated.
He called for a lifestyle audit of all government ministers and officials.