via Muck wrecking Saviour exposes Chombo rot – NewZimbabwe 05/09/2015
RECENTLY appointed Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has been blazing a trail; slashing council salaries, blocking moves to dismiss workers en masse, removing vendors from city streets and adopting a tough stance against land barons.
The Zanu PF political commissar’s campaign has sharply divided councillors and opposition parties while also, perhaps inadvertently, exposing his widely reviled predecessor Ignatius Chombo.
Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe (ECAZ) president, Warship Dumba, said Kasukuwere appeared better focused than his predecessor Chombo.
In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Dumba said while cleaning up the mess in local authorities, Kasukuwere was also raising questions about Chombo’s record.
He said the mess in local authorities accumulated under Chombo’s watch, from land barons, hefty salaries for senior management to the scams regarding the hiring out of market stalls used to vendors.
Kasukuwere must however investigate the scandals he is exposing if he is really serious about addressing problems in the country’s towns and cities.
“I strongly believe that Chombo is the leader of all these land barons,” said Dumba.
“There was no way any piece of land could be legally or illegally sold out without his (Chombo’s) knowledge unless he is very daft and stupid.
“All land, whether rural or urban, was under the supervision Chombo since the Local Government Minister administers both Urban and Rural Councils Act.”
Dumba said he suspected that most of the land barons could have been Chombo’s runners adding they could not have developed into some sort of warlords without the then minister knowing what was happening.
“Some land barons would declare city land to be theirs. They would establish market stalls to parcel out to vendors and collect some daily charges.
“Chombo knew all this but never said a word against it.”
Opposition not convinced
However, opposition parties such as MDC Renewal Team described the minister’s campaign as mere Zanu PF factionalism.
Renewal Team spokesperson Jacob Mafume differed with Dumba, arguing that Kasukuwere was simply trying to establish his authority with the land barons, vendors and city councils.
Once that is done, it will be back to the business of corruption as usual, he added.
”If anything good comes out of his efforts it will be a mere by-product and not his intention; the goal is to show that there is a new mafia boss in town and that rents must change direction,” said Mafume.
“The DNA of corruption run through the whole lot, they are like a swarm of locusts which eats all before it and flies off.”
Transform Zimbabwe secretary for communication Sungai Mazando said the real god-fathers of the land barons were known, adding “why start with the small fish?”
He said: “Is this not a mere smokescreen to protect the real land barons by sacrificing the few who obviously do not rank highly either in Zanu PF, or the size of loot amassed?
“The recent arrests of unnamed land barons naturally begs the question of where the government was when all this was taking place.
“The bottom line is that it’s premature to give Kasukuwere any credit for the reason that a no Zanu PF minister has never had people at heart.
“They (ministers) are driven by but an insatiable appetite to propagate Zanu PF hegemony even at the expense of the masses.
“Chombo used land and populist decisions including allowing vendors to operate in the CBD without any legislation, as a campaign tool.
“Chombo is also known to be a god-father of the land barons, there is therefore no way he would have been able to ring any meaningful changes during his tenure.”
Regading the issue of hefty packages, Dumba said Chombo was behind the unrealistic salary scales for city managers.
“This he did to bribe these managers so that they could not object to what he wanted to do such as appointing commissioners to run the affairs of the cities after dissolving elected councils or during breaks towards elections,” said Dumba.
Mafume added that Chombo had become entangled in the councils’ corruption to the point where he could not move town clerks as they had all given him a piece of land and, was therefore, in their debt.
“To believe that Kasukuwere is a non-corrupt broom is to believe that Cecil the Lion’s relatives have become vegetarians because of the love the world showed Cecil,” said Mafume.