Chombo's meddling stalls progress, mayors tell Tsvangirai

HARARE - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday met all mayors and council chairpersons elected on an MDC ticket, and heard harrowing tales of how service delivery has been grievously undermined by political interference particularly from Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

It emerged in the meeting that revenues had dwindled in almost all the local authorities especially after Chombo ordered councils to cancel all debts in the run-up to the July 31 election.

After that move, Tsvangirai heard that councils were struggling even to raise money for salaries, let alone to invest in delivery projects like water and sanitation, roads, refuse collection and housing, among other key deliverables.

In the city of Gweru, after Chombo’s decision, revenues dwindled from $2 million per month to $500 000 against a salary bill of about $600 000.

In Chitungwiza, which turned out to have the most problems, revenues dwindled to $1 million per month against a wage bill of $1,7 million, meaning there will be nothing for service delivery and other capital expenditure.

It emerged that Chitungwiza was a major victim of political interference after large tracts of council land were parcelled out to party barons, huge numbers of Zanu PF supporters were illegally recruited while some party functionaries are collecting rent for council properties.

As a result, almost all the councils were in arrears in the payment of salaries as councils begin to reel from the effect of Zanu PF’s populist decision to cancel debts.

It also turned out that all mayors and chairpersons elected on an MDC ticket were not privy to the salaries of their town clerks and council management, which was being kept a secret.

Other problems that emerged ranged from acute housing backlogs in almost all the councils due to shortage of land, poor refuse collection, poor roads and water and sanitation as well as unplanned settlements mostly spearheaded by Zanu PF barons.

Councils are also reeling from overstaffing after unqualified employees were recruited on political lines ahead of the last election.

Furthermore, it emerged in the meeting that Zinara illegally usurped council responsibilities of collecting vehicle licensing thereby negatively affecting council revenue inflows.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, said the MDC leader told the mayors and council chairpersons that they were in charge of the cities and towns and the buck stops with them.

“He urged them to be innovative and to prioritise service delivery to the residents,” Tamborinyoka said.

“At the end of the day, they would be judged on the basis of their record.”

He said the MDC president expressed shock that the mayors did not know the salaries of their management.

“He said it would be difficult for the mayors to ascertain whether they had achieved the desired ratio of 70:30 of the expenditure on service delivery to salaries if they did not know the salaries of their subordinates,” Tamborinyoka said.

“The meeting expressed concern on the delay in implementing the Constitutional requirement on provincial councils especially for the metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.

“The meeting noted that in a bid to escape implementing the Constitution, Zanu PF had appointed ministers of Provincial Affairs, even in provinces they do not control.

“The MDC president urged the mayors to regularly meet with the residents and ratepayers to update them on developments in their cities and towns.”

Comments (3)

Nonsense. majaira kuhwanda naChombo muchiitira kuba. how does a whole council elected by a whole town be bulldozed by a single minister? resist him and tell him in his face that you were elected to serve the people not his interests. your timidity and naivety is best illustrated by that recent and foolish statement from chitungwiza mayor who had the audacity to tell the whole nation that he cannot disagree with Chombo because he will loose his job "the mayorship"!! you bloody charlatans and perverts . Tsvangirai usaterera matakanana akadaro. order them to serve the people who gave them that mandate, or if they can't fire them, period.

Fools - 18 January 2014

The MDC-T had over 5 years of near-complete control of local authorities with Sessel Zvidzai as Deputy Minister of Chombo in addition to MDC-T mayors and chairpersons for numerous local authorities right round the country. One fails to understand how critical information like salaries of management personnel remained unknown for so long! Furthermore how were total monthly wage figures quoted in the article arrived at if the individual incomes of workers including management staff are unknown? The nation would be happy to know whether former mayors and councillors ever ordered their staff to supply them with payroll information and with what response. Is it not the classical case of scapegoating in which a bad carpenter blames his tools that we are witnessing?

Alois Matongo - 19 January 2014

ZANU PF finds excuses in sanctions for their endless failures and MDC finds excuses in ZANU Pf for their failures. what a circus

Incompetence/ineptitude/corrupttion - 19 January 2014

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