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Local government media content update: Issue 4
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
August 17, 2011

General Comment

Lately, the local papers have been reporting on the issue of the second round of Harare's land audit. However, some sections in Council and across the political divide have echoed mixed feelings towards this process. CHRA would like to point it out clear that we are rallying behind the Mayor and his team in this endeavor. No one should be heard trying to stop a process that will excavate corrupt activities that have robbed most of Harare's poor citizenry the right to own land.

Councilor Challenges Mayor on Land Tribunal (The Herald)

Special interest Councilor Charles Nyachowe challenged the Mayor on his intentions in setting up a land tribunal which was going to look into the shoddy land deals that were entered into by the Minister of Local Government Rural and Urban Development, Dr I Chombo together with other individuals like Mr Philip Chiyangwa. This came when Masunda was expected to name a five member tribunal during a special full Council meeting. In a letter dated 3 August 2011, Nyachowe wrote to the Mayor saying that the setting up of such a tribunal was illegal and would not improve the discharge of the Councils duties. He accused the Mayor of personalizing the selection of the tribunal saying that he was stirring controversy that did not improve service delivery. He then went on to advise the Mayor to set up committees that would look into issues of service delivery. He was quoted as saying "Will you dispute if I put it to you that this tribunal is your personal project, which you want Council to adopt through the backdoor". His argument was premised on the fact that the Urban Councils Act did not empower the Mayor to set up this tribunal. Nyachowe raised fears that the land tribunal have no value to residents now and in the future. However, the Mayor insisted that the tribunal would continue with its work until that matter was brought to rest.

CHRA Welcomes Land Tribunal Probe (Dailynews)

In response to Nyachowe's mischievous project of blocking the land tribunal probe, CHRA made a statement through the daily news arguing that the land probe was a clear act of transparency and accountability. The Association remains in support of the land tribunal and feels that this has taken longer because the first report was released in October 2010 and until now; those that unearthed these corrupt activities have been fired or suspended from council while those that have been implicated are walking free. CHRA challenged the appointment of Charles Nyachowe who is a well know ex-convict who served a ten year jail term after being sentenced by a local Magistrate in 1995. In that regard, Nyachowe clearly contravenes the electoral law given his unsuitable status to hold public office. Individuals like Nyachowe have been put in Council to defend public resource looters at the expense of service delivery.

Zanu PF Must Stop Hiding Behind Sanctions (Dailynews)

Addressing delegates at a meeting organized by the Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition, Chris Mutsvangwa attributed the Cholera outbreak in 2008 a result of sanctions. This statement prompted the Association, to respond correcting the ill-informed facts as said by the former. CHRA argued that the Cholera outbreak which claimed over 3000 lives was a result of failed leadership by ZANU PF and the subsequent dismissal of elected Local Government leadership. This can be traced in Local Authorities which were operating without elected leadership by 2008 which includes Chegutu, Mutare and Harare. These were the worst hit areas by the outbreak. The Commissions which where put in place by the Minister did nothing to avert water challenges coupled by the cabinet directive to have water services handled by ZINWA.

ZINGWE Bounces Back (Newsday)

In the last edition, we had written that Zingwe, City Treasurer for Kwekwe City Council has been fired as endorsed by the Local Government Board. However, the latest development has it that the Minister reinstated the City treasure citing powers vested in him in terms of the Urban Councils Act section 314 which states that the Minister has got the right to reverse, suspend or rescind resolutions or decision made by a Council which he may think is not in the interest of the inhabitants of the area. In his letter, Minister Chombo urged the Council to expeditiously come up with modalities of the treasurer's come back. This situation is a clear example of what CHRA has always been arguing; that is to revise the Urban Council's Act because it defeats the idea of autonomy on the part of Local authorities and giving too much unnecessary power to the Minister to meddle in Council affairs. The Act must guarantee power of recall to residents and not the other way round.

Chombo Appoints Probe Team for Kwekwe (Newsday)

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo appointed a seven member probe team to look into corruption allegations leveled against top management at Kwekwe City Council. The seven member team is comprised of Joel Chirikuwo (T/C Chegutu), Willie Muringani (Former Chegutu Mayor), Ben Moyo (Former Chitungwiza Deputy Mayor), M Hungwe (Deputy Director ULA), M Mariga (D.A Mvuma), A Nhamo (C/A L-A financial advisory section) and L Gopoza (Principal Administrative Officer). The team is to look into four areas of dispute between Kwekwe Residents Association and the City Council. KRRDA is accusing the town clerk of engaging in corrupt activities at the expense of service delivery. He is also being accused of re-employing the audit manager after he had left for the Diaspora of which nine days after his appointment he was made to be the acting City Treasurer in contravention of the Urban Councils Act. John Mhike is also being accused of hiring out his services to IDBZ to draw a plan for Mbizo 22 low density housing scheme in a deal that is said to have attracted a payment of USD$86 000.

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