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Parliament: Zimbabwe Minister Should Face Graft Charges

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
A parliamentary portfolio committee today recommended that Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, be investigated for corruption, in particular his continued interference with the way local authorities are run, the firing and appointment of special interest councillors and related issues.

Parliament’s local government committee chairperson Lynette Karenyi said Mr. Chombo should be investigated for corruption, in particular the way he has handled local authority issues.

Karenyi was presenting her committee’s report on the local government ministry.

She said Mr. Chombo was biased in the way he fired and retained some councillors convicted or facing the same charges.

Most local authorities in the country are run by the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chombo is a Zanu-PF minister. The MDC has previously accused him of meddling in local authority matters.

The committee noted that while councillors should be investigated for corruption, the minister must also be probed.

Karenyi said her committee is concerned that Mr. Chombo fired some councillors even after they had been cleared of any wrong doing by the courts.

These include councillors Warship Dumba of Ward 17 in Harare and Casper Takura of Ward 20. The committee said these councillors should be reinstated.

The committee criticised Mr. Chombo for selectively appointing special interest councillors saying investigations show most, if not all, were from one party and did not represent any special interest groups.

Karenyi said examples of Zanu-PF losing candidates who were appointed special interest councillors include Esau Mupfumi in Mutare, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s wife, Monica, and serving senator Chief Chiduku, who is a special interest councillor in Makoni Rural District Council.

The committee said the minister should stop interfering in the operations of councils and ensure the law is applied fairly. Mr. Chombo was not present during the presentation of the findings.