'Chombo's probe meant to punish MDC councillors'

HARARE - Ignatius Chombo, the local government minister’s recent land probe team is meant to punish more MDC councilors.

MDC councillors claim Chombo is out to destroy them through a land probe team meant to investigate cooperatives and has targeted at least seven councillors.

Targeted for suspension are councilors Victor Chifodya, Charity Bango, Musa Macheza, Panganai Charumbira, Sunshine Mudavanhu, Gwinyai Mbira and Paula Macharangwanda.

The seven targeted recently survived the chop from their party’s probe team which axed 12 other councillors.

Other councillors felt deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, following his ejection by MDC, was the brains behind the manoeuvres.

This is the second time that Chombo has instituted an investigation on council operations following the Ellen Chivaviro-headed procurement probe team which handed its recommendations last week.

Chombo was yesterday quoted saying he was still finalising the review of the procurement probe report and would have duly dealt with those found on the wrong side of the law by end of today.

But following the failure by the Chivaviro probe team to nail targeted councillors, sources claim Chombo decided to institute this second probe.

“They are witch hunting and laying flimsy charges targeted at councilors. This Monday a land probe team headed by Alfred Tome was put in place and today (yesterday) as we speak the probe teams are supposed to visit cooperatives in Budiriro one,” said a council official.

Of worry to the councilors was the minister’s decision to preside over the cooperative investigations.

“Surprisingly, instead of minister Nyoni (Sithembiso) or Mutsekwa (Giles) handling that probe as the responsible ministers of Cooperatives and Housing respectively, we find the Local Government minister on it.

“Is this not interference? He is merely interested in disbanding cooperatives that he perceives as sympathetic to MDC and replace them with his.”

Efforts to get a comment from Chombo were futile as his phone went unanswered. - Staff Writer

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