Chombo debt write-off illegal - Masunda

HARARE - Outgoing Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has said Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s directive to write-off outstanding rates was thoughtless and lacking in legal basis.

Chombo on Tuesday directed councils nationwide to write-off all accumulated water bills, unit tax, rentals, fees and levies outstanding from 2009 to June 2013.

According to the law, Chombo was supposed to make a proposal to council, to which after critical evaluation, the authorities report back to him in 30 days, Masunda said.

“Chombo’s decision is not valid at law,” Masunda said. “It is council, on its own, which after due consideration of the debts at hand writes them off, excluding rates.

“This is the most thoughtless and outrageous decision I have ever heard in my life and the repercussions are severe. We are going to become another Detroit and suffer politically-induced bankruptcy all in the name of politics, God forbid.

“Running of the city is not for politicians and they should stay away.”

According to Masunda, Harare city — which is currently owed $400 million — usually stocks water chemicals that last for a week and said very soon the city will run out of chemicals and there will be a crisis with devastating consequences.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC said the minister’s edict — which comes six days ahead of a major poll — was a populist directive by a “caretaker minister.”

“While the MDC understands the plight of residents and sympathises with them for the hardships they are facing in failing to pay their bills because of mismanagement and corruption of the Zanu PF government, we note with concern the timing of Chombo’s directive,” the MDC said in a statement.

“It is not a genuine directive meant to benefit the suffering people of Zimbabwe but it is a Zanu PF campaign tool as it has realised that the people of Zimbabwe are going to punish them on 31 July for mismanaging the economy over the last 33 years.”

The MDC statement described it as “cheap populism” and a “thoughtless development” that has no legal basis and will land Zimbabwe in a serious service delivery dilemma.

Comments (19)

its former mayor and not outgoing.

reason - 24 July 2013

The idea is good only if the government is going to pay the local authorities the amounts to be written off(subsidies). That will be good politiking coming with money not suffocating the already struggling authorities who are already failing to pay worker.

happyson - 24 July 2013

There is a very sad familiarity with what Chombo announced, always has been the case that ZANU PF tries to buy votes by these once in a lifetime gestures. First Mugabe appoints a bunch of judges, to the high court, and now this...anybody remember the last election cycle? Same stuff happened and is that coincidence? why do the wait until two weeks before elections to make such an announcement/ Just a thought

Tino - 24 July 2013

Min. Chombo's directive is most welcome for people like who receive water for 30 minutes every two weeks since 2009 but receive inflated, unrealistic and surely manipulated water bills.Further refuse collection has been non-existent for the past 4 years yet I am billed religiously. As if that is not enough, my account is being charged interest. I respect Much Masunda but councils should at their performance and not their pockets to see how they have destroyed ratepayers/citizenry lives.Lets avoid politising everything at the expense of the people.

Sucked Ratepayer - 24 July 2013

The council has stolen too much already. They're supposed to refund some residents. Why should Masunda try to hide behind "water treament chemicals" when everyone knows that councils employees are given such hefty salaries?

Mutu - 24 July 2013

What a bye-bye gesture by Chombo on behalf of his "best before 31 july" party. I just hope its not a scorched earth tactic. Councils are being driven into bankruptcy all in the name of populism and the quest for votes. Dhiziri paChinhoyi, pasi nezvikwereti panzuru!!!!

Gono Chirandu - 24 July 2013

What a bye-bye gesture by Chombo on behalf of his "best before 31 july" party. I just hope its not a scorched earth tactic. Councils are being driven into bankruptcy all in the name of populism and the quest for votes. Dhiziri paChinhoyi, bhushikonomikisi pakanzuru!!!!

Gono Chirandu - 24 July 2013

MASUNDA do well and NEVEr come back again. Enough is Enough. Our debts have been written-off and thats it. All politician are promising lies but its better the DEVIL U KNOW. IZanu Pf cares be it late or not, a campaign GIMIKI or no not. The bottom line is we are now a happy lot. We shall VOTe then in again. Who knows what they may do for us in the next election.

INDODA ENGAZIWAYO - 24 July 2013

Chombo never said people should stop paying their rates but he simply ordered that bad debts be written off which is a normal practice in business and accounting. What use is $400 million to council when they cannot collect it or have very little or no chance of ever recovering it?

mduza - 24 July 2013

@Mduza- Touche..herein lies the problem. Is this 400 million collectible and can the mayor tell us how much does this 400 million represent as part of the city's total receipts. Rather than make heavy weather of this election gimmick, the MDC should not fall into this idiotic trap of being forced to be seen by the electorate to be opposing this move..rather they should say, we applaud Dr. Chombo for this great initiative but we feel it might have come in a little bit late, but eitherway this is one hell of a good idea. Do not be like ZANU which drives itself into culdesacs which are absolutely uselesss...Acknowledging Chombo's pronouncement is known elsewhere as stealing 'his thunder' and it also gives you a tag of people who are not against ZANU but what it stands for..see the difference,?? Sto commenting on this, acknowledge good intentions and just leave it at that. The President an old hand in the political games says he is happy Tsvangirayi is also denouncing violence.....then he then gets into his attack on his opponent...so here is the formula concede...then attack, not just attack attack attack..you end u carrying the label rabid dog which can not seperate the good coming from the other camp and this smacks of intolerance, NO? And Mr. Masunda is out, he should not try to seek relevance when it was his fault the city found itself in the ugly mess we are in..he was the boss and all the nonsense visited upon the city was under his watch..he should do the honorable thing and SHUT UP!

gutter poet - 24 July 2013

vaMasunda tinyareiwo marate payers, kana kanzuru isina mari, ko yekupana mahefty salaries murikuiwanepi

strand - 25 July 2013

Hazvitenge vote yangu izvo.

ZVIKIRI - 25 July 2013

It sets a precedence of not paying rates and bills in anticipation of debt cancellation. This means those who are up-to-date have lost out. That's very wrong Mr Chombo. There is nothing for mahala once people don't pay service delivery will nose-dive.

Gift - 25 July 2013

Ian Douglas Smith was repairing broken taps, cracked floors or fading paint on houses, all one needed to do was to go and report to the municipal offices whatever you wanted repaired. Moreover the houses were built by Smith and his predicessors for free unlike now where council is allocating to itself residential stands and make others lodgers. This is the problem with us blacks, no good comes from the majority of us. Our money was rendered useless in the banks after being forced to bank by gono and no economist ever came out to fight for us and the bills did not resort to zero as our money was zeroed in the banks and not to forget murambatsvina My question is , what is it that council is doing in return for rates they want to collect. The tar that the whites constructed is no more and we are paying in US Dollar. This is satanism at its peak. viva chombo.

rita makarau - 25 July 2013

very good idea if you see it otherwise hamenho zvako iwe une nhamo. tsvangirai is paying big charges to women he impregnants some to US$300,000 but how much has he donated to the less priviledged?? even to his own mother but we hear its politics.

tsvangie - 25 July 2013

ZIMBABWEANS WAKE UP SVINURAI KWETE KUNGOTI TAKAFUNDA 1. NDIANI ANE CHIKWERETI MOST OF THESE ARE ZANU PF THUGS WHO WANTED TO FIX MDC-T LEAD COUNCILS. NOW CHOMBO IS GOING ZVOSARA ZVOPRESSA 2. COME NEW BUDGET AFTER ZANU PF WIN THE SOME CHOMBO IS COMING NE-APPORVAL OF HIGHER RATES TO COVER UP FOR THESE PEOPLE. YOU MAY CELEBRATE TODAY BUT HE WILL GET YOU. NOTHING FOR FREE IN THIS WORLD. REAL ZIMBABWEANS VOTE WISELY AND SAY NO TO GIMMICKS AND LET BUILD OUR COUNTRY. BHORA MUSANGO WACHIRI MUZANU PF CHITORO IONE REMEMBER BE WARNED OTHERWISE START TO GET A PASSPORT IF YOU DON'T HAVE. UNITE TO SAVE YOUR LIFE NEEDS

RATES PAYER - 25 July 2013

I certainly would want my debt cancelled but I ma just worried about the ensuing repercussions...the practicality of it is just not comprehensible.

Simba Takawira - 25 July 2013

Iye Combo ndiye ane chikwereti chikuru with his mutliple properties countrywide

Constanza - 26 July 2013

Startled! This is liberation struggles are fought. You take the chances in combat battle.

dungas - 28 July 2013

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.
 
Enter the three characters from the image on the right. This helps prevent automated 'bots' from submitting spam to the site. This field is NOT case-sensitive. If the characters are a bit hard to see, try refreshing the code by clicking the image.