MPs grill Chombo over nepotism

HARARE - Ignatius Chombo, the Local Government minister, was yesterday grilled by Members of Parliament over allegations of interfering in the operations of local authorities and nepotism in the appointment of senior Zupco officials.

Members of the Local Government parliamentary portfolio committee, led by Mutasa South Zanu PF MP Irene Zindi, bombarded Chombo with questions over the “appalling” state of 92 local authorities.

The MPs also roasted the Zanu PF politiburo member over allegations that he had unduly caused the hiring of personnel only from Mashonaland West Province as chief executive officers of Zupco.

Chombo hails from the same province.

“Honourable minister, can you explain the fact that from 2004 to date, there have been 15 chief executives for Zupco and out of them, only two are not from Mashonaland West,” asked Joseph Chinotimba, Buhera North MP.

“Zupco is as good as dead, the people running it are from Mashonaland West and the minister is from the same province, is this by coincidence?”

Chinotimba’s question came after Chombo had insinuated that the Buhera North Zanu PF MP was particularly interested in the Zupco issue because his company’s contract to provide security services at the company’s premises had been terminated after a misunderstanding.

The MPs, led by Harare West MDC MP Jessie Majome, further queried why most of the board members for the public transporter, who she said included Chombo’s sister, were from his home province.

“I am not aware that they come from Mashonaland West because we do not appoint them on the basis of origin but competence and if my sister is one of the board members, she is doing well there because the board is performing,” Chombo said.

Chombo was also taken to task for interfering with the work of local authorities in general and Harare in particular.

Fani Phiri and Elias Mudzuri, MPs for Kadoma Central and Warren Park respectively, challenged Chombo to explain his relationship with Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi, who MPs claimed was being protected by the minister.

Mudzuri alleged that Chombo had approved the hefty salaries that senior council employees, including Mahachi, were getting.

Mudzuri pointed out to the Zvimba North legislator that there was a public perception that Mahachi disrespected current Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni because of his cosy relationship with him.

The MPs also accused Chombo of flouting the Constitution which provides that local authorities are independent of central government in terms of how they are run.

They wanted to know where Chombo derived the power to interfere in the affairs of local authorities.

But Chombo was adamant that his ministry superintends over local authorities under the Urban Councils Act until such a time the law was realigned to the new Constitution.

“We cannot have someone coming from any place to make decisions; there are councillors and the mayor,” Chombo said.

“They make decisions on the basis of the Urban Councils Act. We have our legal experts working on realigning the Act with the new Constitution and all your concerns are being taken care of.”

It took the intervention of Zindi to stop the grilling when she suggested there was no need to pursue the issue.

“We are all on the same wave-length that the minister is interfering, and he has heard that. If there is continuation of interference that is at his own peril,” Zindi warned.

Comments (3)

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wik - 24 July 2014

Thanks Irene for patronage thinking in saving your god-father/

Mukanya - 25 July 2014

Hehehehehehehehehehe!!!! Zvanzi my sister must be doing a good job as the ZUPCO board is performing. Please do elaborate on how exactly this ZUPCO board is performing. Can the good minister please tell us what KPI's he has used to assess the board's performance?

What?? - 25 July 2014

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