via Chibaya in water disconnections storm – The Zimbabwean 23 July 2015
Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya has scoffed at moves by the Local Government Ministry to investigate him over accusations of “sabotaging” water disconnection exercises in his constituency by employees of the city council among other “disturbances to operations of Gweru City Council.”
Recently the council’s Revenue Enhancement Team, comprised of council workers tasked with squeezing out cash from the city’s debtors including residents, accused the outspoken MP of frustrating their work through encouraging rate-payers in his constituency to “sabotage” water disconnections.
They also accused the MDC-T’s national executive committee member of lobbying rate-payers in his constituency to boycott payments of water charges to the council in protest over the on-going disconnections to defaulters.
This prompted the ministry’s permanent secretary, George Mlilo, to dispatch an investigating team to look into the matter. In a letter in the possession of The Zimbabwean addressed to Town Clerk Daniel Matau and copied to provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Mlilo wrote that a team of investigators, who are currently in the city, should also probe Chibaya on allegations of violence against council workers.
“Councillor Cathrine Mhondiwa (Ward 13) arranged for the beating of employees and then with the help of MP Chibaya forced the complainants to withdraw the charges,” says part of Mlilo’s letter, which also sums up the brief of the probe team that has been in town since last week.
However in an interview on the side-lines of a parliamentary report back meeting held at Mkoba hall over the weekend, Chibaya said Mlilo was off-side. “I am not accountable to the ministry of Local government.
As parliamentarians, we form a totally different and independent arm of government- the legislature. Ministries are under the executive with the judiciary forming the third independent arm. It is therefore a waste of time and scarce resources for Mlilo to set up a team that he says should investigate me,” said Chibaya.
He added that as an MP he had an obligation of interpreting “laws of the land to my people especially on critical issues such as water.”
“The constitution says it’s a right for every person to have access to clean water. It’s a right not a need, so in terms of issues to do with water this is what I have been telling people in my constituency. I however never sabotaged any efforts by council to disconnect water – even though I knew that the High Court had outlawed such moves,” he said.