A committee hand-picked by Chombo to investigate alleged “grabbing” of houses from Zanu (PF) supporters by the MDC is being seen as a tactic by the wealthy minister to divert attention from his involvement in a massive land grab scandal recently exposed by a special committee.
Despite resistance from council, Chombo has imposed his authority and gone ahead with investigating the councilors amid reports that he wants to use the probe to suspend the council and put in place a commission.
Chombo, controversial businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, and senior council employees – Cosmas Zvikaramba and Psychology Chiwanga have been reported to police for fraudulently conniving to steal prime council land.
It could not be established at the time of going to press if police had taken any action.
Chiyangwa has been fighting back through instigating police to arrest the mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, the councilors who compiled the explosive dossier and journalists who exposed the scandal.
Besides coming up with a committee to investigate councilors, Chombo has also been allegedly inciting a handful of Zanu PF supporters to demonstrate against the councilors.
However, Chombo met his first brick wall last week when Masunda turned down his request to pay members of the investigating committee USD$5 000 each for the job.
“Chombo tried to pay his so called committee USD$5000 each to investigate us but we said no and the mayor had no option except to shoot down the minister’s request. This is a complete waste of resources because Chombo’s committee is coming to just fix us for exposing the land grab scandal.
“We are aware that Chombo has already compiled his report which he wants to endorse through his dubious committee. We also know that one of the committee members is a relative of Chombo. We will not co-operate with the committee.
“In a normal situation councilors get $10 a day for carrying out investigations but Chombo wants us to give his people $5000 for doing his dirty jobs on us,” said a councilor who refused to be named.
Contacted for comment on the allegations by Chombo that councilors are grabbing houses from tenants, Mount Pleasant councilor Warship Dumba dismissed the allegations as hogwash.
“We are not grabbing houses from those Zanu (PF) supporters who are being paid to demonstrate against us. The truth of the matter is that everything is being done above board. These tenants have been leasing the houses from council and the agreements have expired.
“No councilor removed them. The High Court ordered them out at the expiry of the contracts. Some even stayed after the expiry of their contracts. Council is only following court orders in removing them,” said Dumba.
Sources told Radio VOP Tuesday that the land grab scandal was due to be discussed in cabinet.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has also stamped his authority and recently summoned the co-ministers of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa of MDC and Kembo Mohadi of Zanu (PF) to explain why councilors who carried out the land audit were arrested instead of the people accused of illegally grabbing land.