Corruption & Graft


Many broke government ministries this week dug deeper into their begging bowls and splashed full colour advertisements in the state-controlled The Herald newspaper congratulating President Robert Mugabe on his 87th birthday.

President Mugabe has been single-handedly at the helm of Zimbabwe’s political affairs since the country became independent on April 18, 1980. Most of his fellow President friends have either passed on or have retired from active politics.

They include Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), Joachim Chissano (Mozambique), Sam Nujoma (Namibia), Nelson Mandela (South Africa) and the late Dr Kamuzu Banda (Malawi). Ministiries that booked colour advertising space in the newspaper on Monday included that of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, currently led by the wealthy Dr Ignatious Chombo.

Chombo is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Zvimba where President Mugabe’s rural home is located. “May the Lord continue to bless You!,” the advert read. The Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs led by Patrick Chinamasa also threw in its support for the President, pointing out that it “continues to be inspired and guided by His Excellency’s illustrious and visionary leadership. We wish him many more!” Not to be outdone was the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, under young MDC-T economist, Tapiwa Mashakada.

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) also chipped in with an advert and so did FT Travel (Private) Limited, Africa University, the Harare Municipal Medical Aid Society and the Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited Group, who publish The Herald and The Sunday Mail in their stable. Telephone network operator, TelOne (Private) Limited (TelOne) also placed an advertisement pointing out the HE “brings people together like them”.

The President of the Senate, Edna Madzongwe from Zanu PF and the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo from the MDC-T, were also not left out, saying they hoped God would “continue to give Mugabe strength, good health and wisdom to be an example to the younger generation as they benefit from the country’s independence”. However, the largest advertisement was placed by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Infratsructural Development, under presidential confidante, Nicholas Goche.

The advert covered almost half the page. Members from the christian world were also not left out as the Apostolic Chrisian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) chipped in with a small one. President Mugabe has been seen in Apostolic garb on several occasions “wooing” members from the sect to join  his Zanu PF party at a time when membership is tricky.

The Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy and mining concern, Zimbabwe Alloys Limited Group of Companies (ZimAlloys) also advertised. Mugabe turned 87 years old on Monday. He had, meanwhile, returned from an overseas trip where he sought treatment for his eyes.

(Source)

Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister, Ignatius Chombo has threatened to fire MDC-T councillors in Victoria Falls Town council accusing them of politicising council business.

“Committed individuals will be appointed to take charge of council business in the resort town. It is very unfortunate that most of these councillors don’t know local government business.This time we are not begging them,” said Chombo.

Chombo’s threats follows  the arrest of three MDC-T councillors by Victoria Falls police last week on allegations of assaulting the town mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane.

Jiyane resigned from MDC-T recently claiming that he was being harassed by party leaders in Matabeleland North province. He now runs Victoria Falls Town Council as an independent but has strong links with some ZANU PF leaders.

Last month Chombo came to Jiyane’s defence after MDC-T councillors threatened to fire him accusing him of incompetence. The minister in turn accused the councillors for bringing internal party squabbles into local governance issues. MDC-T wanted to replace the mayor with a former commercial farmer Larry Cunnings.

Chombo has to date expelled 11 MDC councillors country wide and suspended two. The MDC-T has accused Chombo of fighting to reduce the number of its councillors in local authorities and also of frustrating corruption probes against him.

Zimbabwe’s elected councillors last week formed an association which seeks to challenge their harassment by Chombo.

(Source)

The Chinese have built a state of the art giant television screen in Harare’s busiest mall, the First Street, which shows Zimbabwe’s Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television programmes and ZANU (PF) jingles 24 hours daily.

The project is believed to have cost about US$20 000 and was sponsored by the Xinhua News Agency in China.

The Minister of Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, was supposed to be guest of honour at the unveiling of the huge screen.

The television shows mainly ZBC TV programmes but which are interrupted by the now “infamous” ZANU PF “Team” advertisement showing President Robert Mugabe and his two deputies Joyce Mujuru and John Nkomo playing football together on the same “team”.

Insiders said this project would help the ZANU (PF) election campaign at a time when membership has nose-dived for the former ruling party ahead of elections pencilled in for later this year.

The huge tv screen has become popular with street kids who sleep on First Street.

The Chinese helped ZANU PF during the liberation struggle against the British Government leading to Independence in 1980.

The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai this week issued a warning to foreign embassies against continued funding of ZANU (PF) after the Libyan embassy in Harare donated tractors and other farming inputs to the party.

China has aggressively moved at the speed of light, in making Zimbabwe its oasis of quenching her thirst for Beijing’s economic boom and pivot for her foreign policy objectives on the African continent, as disclosed yesterday by ZNI. The Asian aspiring world power now has an iron grip on the country’s economic and security nerves, raising fears of a total buy out.

Top level army sources revealed that Beijing plans to set a strategic military base in the country, as the Asian nation’s sphere of military influence on the continent spreads. ZNI also reveals today that unknown to the Zimbabwean citizenry, China has acquired significant stakes and rights to the country’s mineral wealth worth billions of dollars at rock bottom prices.

The government has sold mining rights for undisclosed amounts of the country’s diamonds to a Chinese firm called Anjin, while nickel, cobalt and copper have been grabbed by another company called Jinchuan Nickel Mining Company. The same goes for platinum, whose Chinese exploration firm is unknown. Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves in the world, officially being mined by Zimplats, a member of South Africa’s Implats Group of Companies with operations at the Great Dyke.

Diamonds

Anjin joins Canadile Miners and Mbada Diamonds, the two controversial companies awarded contracts to mine diamonds legally in Chiadzwa. There are reports that Anjin has built a massive infrastructure in Chiadzwa to mine the diamonds, and intelligence information filtering in suggests that the Chinese are possibly earning US$1,5 million per day through the shady deal, reportedly spanning a period of five years.

Beijing dealers alongside Russian businessmen Lebanese, Mozambican, Belgian, Angolan, Liberian, Indian and Sierra Leonean dealers are also fingered in a racket of diamond smuggling said to be worth millions of dollars. At least 2000 carats of diamonds are being smuggled out of Chiadzwa daily, according to the Mutare based Centre for Research and Development (CRD).

The diamond watchdog, whose director Farai Maguwa was recently imprisoned for exposing massive human rights abuses at the Chiadzwa diamond fields by military personnel, warns that large quantities of the precious gem are finding their way illicitly onto the International diamond markets without Kimberley Process (KP) certification.

Doing the maths

According to a recent report in the Sunday Times, the value of the Chiadzwa deposits could be worth up to a staggering US$800 billion and could be mined for the next 80 years or more. The blood-soaked fields, following the alleged killing of about 214 peasant diamond panners in the area by armed soldiers in 2008 according to Human Rights Watch in New York, hold at least three billion carats.

If operations at Marange are well managed, the country can earn between US$75billion to US$200 billion in the next 50 years and that could reach US$800 billion in 80 years, the Sunday Times report adds. This means that if China’s Anjin firm is walking away with US$1,5 million every day (excluding smuggled diamonds), it stands to pocket on estimate terms a massive US$3 billion dollars after five years. (US$1,5 million x 365 days = US$547,5 million. US$547,5 million x 5= US$2,7 billion).

Platinum

Unconfirmed reports talk about a US$5 billion the Chinese paid, to secure at least 50% of the country’s platinum resource, which fetches a real value price tag of over US$40 billion, making it a give away financial rip-off. Finance minister, Tendai Biti has however vehemently denied the reports. Biti’s mouth could have been shut by the egregious Official State Secrets Act

Not so long ago information minister, Webster Shamu said ministers who leak cabinet deliberations to the media face arrest together with the offending journalists under the Orwellian piece of law. The Official Secrets Act, was promulgated in 1970, and prohibits the disclosure of any information to an enemy, which prejudices the security and interests of Zimbabwe.

Land and businesses

Chinese nationals and businesses have also acquired prime residential and commercial land in the capital, in areas such as Gunhill, Ballantyne Park, Westgate, Bluffhill, Borrowdale and Mt Pleasant for close to a song in contravention of municipal by-laws. Some Chinese nationals have even been seen in various high density suburbs in Harare.

Culture invasion.

Now Beijing is opening another frontier of domination through culture. Chinese is being taught at various universities across the country, and there are indications of plans to introduce Chinese as a subject in primary schools with karate lessons being given for free as a sweetener to the young susceptible minds.

(Source)

The MDC condemns the dismissal of Bindura mayor, Daniso Wakatama and another councillor, Christopher Mazembe by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development after a magistrate’s court acquitted the two on similar charges. What the MDC finds shocking is that Chombo decides to uphold a ruling from a kangaroo court presided by a handpicked commission, throwing out a ruling of a competent and legally constituted court.

If there is anyone who must be fired for corruption, it is Chombo himself following the recent publication of massive wealth and property which could only have been corruptly acquired. Chombo’s dubious commission found Mayor Wakatama guilty of a truly administrative issue such as collecting revenue from ratepayers and failing to bank it.  There is no way a Mayor of a town can move around the town collecting money from ratepayers.  This is purely a fabricated charge, which should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

After years of Zanu PF maladministration, corruption and embezzlement of council resources, Chombo and Zanu PF continue to meddle in the affairs of local authority with limited resources. No amount of firing and setting up of commissions of inquiries for democratically elected councils will cleanse Chombo of his grime. His actions are not only politically motivated, but are a clear evidence of abuse of office to further the interests of the opposition Zanu PF.  He should be stopped immediately from manipulating the law for selfish Zanu PF projects that affecting service delivery.

The MDC calls for a spirited campaign against Chombo by all progressive forces. It is an affront to democracy when Chombo, a senior member of a losing party, Zanu PF, continues to abuse a public office. Zimbabweans deserve real change. They want the councillors they elected to deliver quality service and not to be interfered with by a top politician who is facing serious enquiries on how he acquired his vast nauseating wealth.

(Source)

LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban Development Mini-ster Ignatius Chombo is embroiled in an acrimonious property-sharing wrangle with his wife, Marian, from whom he has been separated for the past three years.

The protracted divorce and property sharing dispute is now before the High Court.

The estranged couple agreed to divorce, but failed to reach a settlement on the sharing of vast properties spread countrywide despite several pre-trial conferences held to try to resolve the matter without going to trial.

On Wednesday, Judge President Justice George Chiweshe referred the contentious issues to trial after another attempt to resolve the matter hit a brick wall.

During the civil trial, the court will seek to come up with a formula on how to share the matrimonial property.

The court will hear evidence regarding contributions made by each of the parties in acquiring the properties.

The court will look at money invested as well as generation of ideas.

The hearing date is yet to be set.

Mr Wilson Manase of Manase and Manase is acting for Minister Chombo while Mr Motsi Sinyoro of Sinyoro and Partners is representing Mrs Marian Chombo (nee Muhloyi).

The two separated in 2007 and Minister Chombo wants a divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

“The marriage between the two parties is irretrievably broken down to an extent that the two are not reconcilable and no prospects for . . . restoration of a normal marriage relationship,” stated the minister in his declaration filed with the court.

He says the two have not lived together as husband and wife for at least 24 months and there is no more love or affection.

Minister Chombo has pledged to look after their two children, born in 1986 and 1989.

“He will take care of his two children’s educational requi-rements, including air fares once a year to and from school, tuition and ancillary expenses,” he said.

Minister Chombo says during the subsistence of the marriage they acquired property like furniture, utensils and electronic equipment.

He wants the couple’s two houses in Alexandra Park and Greendale awarded to his wife.

The minister also proposes that all movable property at their Allan Grange Farm go to Mrs Chombo on condition that farming equipment which is not on loan or not yet fully-paid for is valuated and shared.

He also wants to be granted the first offer to buy the equipment.

Minister Chombo, however, is not agreeable to paying his estranged wife the US$2 000 monthly maintenance she is claiming, arguing that she can earn a living from the properties and businesses he wants to cede to her.

Mrs Chombo, in her summary of evidence, claims she was customarily married to the minister in the United States in 1985.

In 1993 she said they renewed their vows and remarried under the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11).

“Defendant (Mrs Chombo) will testify that the relationship became strained when plaintiff (Minister Chombo) left matrimonial home saying that he wanted to sort out some personal issues and promised to come back home,” Mrs Chombo says.

She says since then the marriage has been strained but there are prospects for restoration of normal marriage.

Given a chance to reflect on the matter without undue influence, Mrs Chombo feels the marriage can be successfully resuscitated.

On the matrimonial assets, Mrs Chombo says she signed a post-nuptial agreement stating that they will share 50 percent of all properties acquired – whether held personally or in proxy – during the subsistence of their marriage.

She averred that on top of fixed assets including a borehole, generator, coldroom, it will be just for Minister Chombo to pay a monthly maintenance of US$2 000 until her death or re-marriage.

She also wants the court to award her 15 of the family vehicles that include:

4 Toyota Land Cruisers

3 Mercedes Benzes

l Mahindra

2 Nissan Wolfs,

1 Toyota Vigo,

1 Mazda BT-50,

1 Bus

1 Nissan Hardbody

1 Toyota Hilux

Mrs Chombo is also claiming other properties that include:

2 Glen View houses

2 flats in Queensdale,

A property in Katanga Township,

Stand Number 1037 Mount Pleasant Heights

4 Norton business stands

3 Chinhoyi business stands,

4 Banket business stands,

1 commercial stand in Epworth,

2 residential stands in Chirundu

4 commercial stands in Kariba

1 stand in Ruwa

1 stand in Chinhoyi,

2 stands in Mutare

2 stands in Binga.

4 stands in Victoria Falls

1 stand in Zvimba Rural

Chitungwiza (two residential and two commercial stands)

Beitbridge (four stands),

20 stands in Crow Hill, Borrowdale

10 stands in Glen Lorne,

2 flats at Eastview Gardens (B319 and B320)

1 flat at San Sebastian Flats in the Avenues, Harare

Number 79 West Road, Avondale.

Greendale house

Number 36 Cleveland Road, Milton Park

Number 135 Port Road, Norton,

2 Bulawayo houses.

Number 18 Cuba Rd, Mount Pleasant

Number 45 Basset Crescent, Alexandra Park,

2 Chegutu houses

1 Glen Lorne house (Harare)

2 houses (Victoria Falls).

1 Stand along Simon Mazorodze Road,

Norton (one stand)

Avondale (two stands)

365 Beverly House (one stand)

Bulawayo (three stands),

Mica Point Kariba (one stand).

She further wants the court to share farming equipment at New Allan Grange Farm including three tractors, two new combine harvesters, two boom sprayers and two engines.

She is also seeking an order compelling Minister Chombo to cede to her shares in the family’s 10 companies including Dickest, Hamdinger, Landberry and Track in Security Company.

Mrs Chombo, in her court papers, is also claiming cattle at Darton Farm, shared chicken runs, pigsties, a shop, grinding mill, house, mills, tractors, lorries, six trucks, five of which are non-runners, four trailers (three non-runners) and one truck.

She added that other interests were the Mvurwi Mine, hunting safari lodges in Chiredzi, Hwange, Magunje and Chirundu as well as properties in South Africa.

(Source: The Herald – via email )

For the first time, the State mouthpiece, the Herald, has published the list of Ignatius Chombo’s alleged properties as noted in court papers submitted by his estranged wife. In the past, this has only been done by independent papers while State-owned media treated the subject as taboo or too dangerous to publish.

This may mean that Chombo is no longer regarded as a sacred cow and may even be on his way out of the favour of the powers that be in ZANU PF. What is amazing about the disclosures is the fact that the minister of Local Government has property in virtually all the urban areas of this country. The properties range from commercial stands to low density mansions in all reputable residential areas of our major cities.

He also has at least two commercial farms and a lot of farm equipment. He has a lot of vehicles, even though some of them are non-runners.

The question the general public would like to be answered is how Mr Chombo managed to acquire all these properties on a minister’s salary. Before joining government Chombo used to work for the University of Zimbabwe, which also pays slave wages that could not have been used to amass the properties he now owns. So, where did he get the money to acquire all these properties?

The second question that needs to be answered is whether, in fact, he paid any money for these properties. Is it possible that as minister of Local Government he may have just grabbed these properties and the relevant authorities were too scared to challenge him to pay for them? Worse still, was he allocated these properties by some local authorities as part of the usual ZANU PF looting scam?

The third question that begs an answer is why Robert Mugabe does not appoint a commission of inquiry into the acquisition of these properties by one of his ministers. With this third question we can speculate on some of the possible reasons why the President is reluctant to have Chombo investigated.

First, the two are home boys since they both come from Zvimba, and Mugabe would not like to be seen as undermining or exposing his “homie” in that fashion. Second, in this era of a compromise government, it would be politically costly for ZANU PF tom have one of its senior politicians investigated for corruption.

The third possible explanation is may be that what has been exposed about Chombo is but only a small part of what the majority of these ZANU PF looters have amassed over the years. I suspect that some of Chombo’s colleagues in the rotten party laugh their lungs out when they see the properties listed under his name. They may even express, “Is this all that he has acquired?” In other words, the nation could be shocked if the lists of all the properties that these looters have acquired were to be published.

It is sad that at his age, Mugabe no longer has the capacity to institute measures aimed at good governance in this country. I strongly suspect that soon after reading about these scandals perpetrated by his underlings, the President conveniently forgets the stories and fails to do anything about them.

This makes it rather difficult to believe that the 86-year-old young man is still governing this nation. Some say he spends most of his time snoozing while we think he is running the country. However, he wakes up very quickly whenever someone mentions that he could travel to some foreign country for whatever reason. May God help us all.

(Source)

The bitter feuding in President Robert Mugabe’s clan has taken a dramatic twist and escalated as battle to control his wealth takes a public spat of skulduggery and media snipping amongst family members, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.

At the centre of the family feud is the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono who is fighting in the corner of Grace Mugabe and the President and on the other side has the rest of the Mugabe clan led by Leo Mugabe who is the son of President Mugabe’s late sister Sabina.

A source close to the family said Leo is only carrying over from where his mother left.

This week a report in a South African newspaper accused Gono of having an affair with the President’s wife Grace Mugabe, but we can reveal that the report is part of the family smear campaign fuelled by the rival family clan amid reports that Leo Mugabe has escaped assassination plots in a number of occassions.

The report in the Sunday Times says, one of Mugabe’s most trusted bodyguards who were present at the time, Sabina Mugabe, 75, warned her brother before she died that he was being betrayed by two of the most important people in his personal and political life: his wife and his personal banker, a pivotal member of his regime.

The report says Sabina told the president that Grace and Gideon Gono were secret lovers.

The Reserve Bank Governor and the First Lady both come from the same area in Chivhu District in Mashonaland East province and Gono together with Grace Mugabe’s late brother Reward Marufu were some of the first members of Robert Mugabe’s spy agency, the dreaded CIO.

In the early 80s Gono was assigned by the CIO to spy on white executives at Natbrew Breweries where he infiltrated the company as a tea boy in a spy sting operation that eventually forced the Senior Managers of the Brewery to flee the country and leading to the eventual takeover of the company by the quasi-State owned Delta Corporation.

In the years gone by, Mr Gono has been at the centre of the President and his family’s complicated business network both at home and abroad and this has not gone down well with the rest of the Mugabe clan who feel more and more ostracised as his wife’s relatives take more influence in his wealth.

At the same time when Mr Gono gained prominence and influence in the President’s wealth, Leo Mugabe who used to be the President’s favoured and trusted family member has hit hard times as all political avenues and business prospects have been closed for him by Grace Mugabe’s people who are surrounding the President leading to bitter family feuding and skulduggery and the latest media briefing in a South African newspaper.

Mugabe has staffed most key positions in the government with Grace Mugabe’s relatives particularly in the Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministries.

Sources close to the family said the fall-out over President Mugabe’s wealth has escalated and got worse since the death of Sabina Mugabe amid reports that the President took two Harare houses owned by his late sister and gave them to his daughter Bona and his son Robert Mugabe Jr. much to the outcry by everyone in the Mugabe clan.The majority of the members of the Mugabe family are accusing the President and his wife Grace of “killing” Sabina Mugabe using witchcraft.

The pair is also stands accused of causing the ill health to the President’s younger sister Bridgette Mugabe who has been in intensive care in a Harare hospital for four months and she has requested that the President and his wife be kept away from her.

Meanwhile, to his clan members, President Mugabe is adamant that his wealth belongs to his children and he has even declared that he doesn’t even know what Grace’s vast business empire is.

In recent years, Mugabe has outflanked the rebel nephew Leo Mugabe and he has given a cabinet post to Leo’s rival brother Patrick Zhuwawo as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology in the coalition government.The two sons of Sabina Mugabe, Leo and Patrick have different fathers. Leo’s father is the late former ZIFA Secretary-General in the early 80s and owner of Mboma buses in the 70s and early 80s while a Mozambican man fathered Patrick Zhuwawo.

The two brothers do not see eye to eye and true to his legendary divide and rule tactics, the President has taken advantage in order to ostracise Leo.

Sabina’s eldest son, Innocent, who was a director of the state’s Central Intelligence Organisation until his mysterious death a few years ago was said to be kingpin of this family feud and his death was also linked to it as he led a faction in the spy agency which rivalled Grace’s brother Reward Marufu.

Leo is owner and chief executive of a construction and telecommunications consortium, Integrated Engineering Group (IEG), which is almost defunct due to piling debts and loss of business revenue due to the fall out with his uncle.

In the past IEG got awarded contracts running into billions of dollars to construct government buildings, often ahead of far more experienced companies but the money was not put to good use. In the 90s, Leo’s company was controversially awarded the right to construct the Harare International Airport.

In recent times Leo has had troubles in his effort to lay claim to be the majority shareholder in Telecel Zimbabwe through Empowerment Corporation, where he has, on a number of occasions tried to replace Jane Mutasa on the board of the country’s third largest mobile phone company.

Empowerment Corporation (EC) holds 40 percent equity while Telecel International, the foreign partner, holds a controlling 60 percent stake.

Originally, EC was composed of six organisations vying for a stake in the mobile telecommunications firm.

Businessman James Makamba represented the EC interests on the Telecel board and under the influence of Grace Mugabe was later replaced by Mrs Mutasa after he slipped out of the country when police launched investigations on his alleged externalisation of foreign currency.

Telecel, however, suspended Mrs Mutasa as acting chairperson in March this year when the Harare businesswoman was arrested on allegations of defrauding the company of airtime worth US$ 750 000, however, the Attorney-General has declined to prosecute.

Grace Mugabe, believed to be backing Jane Mutasa to “fix” Leo and the First Lady’s close relative, the Attorney General’s Chief State Prosecutor Chris Mutangadura is alleged to be behind Attorney-General’s office refusal to prosecute Mrs Mutasa.

The long running dispute of Leo Mugabe’s shareholding at Telecel dates back to the 90s and sources said Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) Bank wrote to Empowerment Corporation that the Z$ 140 000 cheque drawn by Mr Mugabe in 1999 meant for Shares subscription was dishonoured and that was when he is alleged to have lost his stake in Telecel. It is believed Gideon Gono played a part in the bank’s actions to stripe Leo’s claim in Telecel.

The feud in the Mugabe clan has become so bitter that the President himself is no longer in contact with the rest of the members of the family and he has put Leo Mugabe on 24-hour surveillance.

Both rival family sides have spend huge amounts of money in recent years consulting African traditional healers and using all forms of skulduggery in order to outdo each other and the latest snipping tactic accusing Grace and Gono of having an affair will definitely not go down well with the ruthless President Robert Mugabe.

(Source)

The MDC calls upon the inclusive government to urgently investigate the Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister, Ignatius Chombo (Pictured) for abuse of office following his illegal suspension from office of seven MDC Harare councillors.

The MDC notes with concern that Chombo continues to unnecessarily interfere in the operations of the MDC – led councils across the country, having managed to foist losing Zanu PF local government candidates as “special councillors.”

Chombo’s suspensions of the Harare councillors come barely a month after he suspended another six MDC councillors in Rusape, including the chairperson.

The latest suspensions are nothing but part of Chombo’s grand political plot to stop Harare councillors from investigating him and Zanu PF’s Phillip Chiyangwa after they looted prime council land in Harare.

The MDC calls for the immediate arrest of Chombo and Chiyangwa for stealing council land. Chombo has no right to suspend the councillors who are investigating him for his corrupt activities.

Instead of the councillors being the complainants, Chombo has now abused his office by ensuring that he becomes the complainant in a trumped-up case. The prime council land that he looted was enough for the construction of 500 000 low cost houses.

We urge the police to immediately follow-up on Chombo’s case of blatant abuse of office. We strongly reject Chombo’s continued machinations to further the interests of Zanu PF, which was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters in March 2008.

Chombo has also blocked several investigations in Kwekwe, Chinhoyi and Chegutu that are being carried out by the councils on senior Zanu PF officials who corruptly acquired council land.

The Local Government minister should be immediately stopped from continuing to abuse his national office in pursuit of narrow and partisan political interests.  

The people of Zimbabwe deserve better service delivery. They demand and deserve dignity, hope, freedom, security and prosperity.

Together, united, winning, ready for real change.

(Source)

A Zimbabwean diplomat stationed in Teheran, who was recalled after being drugged by two Iranian women at his apartment in January, has won reinstatement after challenging the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s decision at the Labour Court.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha had recalled Mr Brighton Mugarisanwa – a counsellor at the embassy in Teheran – following the publication of the reports by the Iranian media, which the Government found embarrassing.

Mr Mugarisanwa’s contract was due to expire in December 2011.

He, however, successfully challenged the recall with the Labour Court ruling it was unprocedural, as Mr Mugari-sanwa had not been afforded the chance to be heard in a disciplinary hearing.

The dispute centres around events that occurred on January 11.

On the day in question, Mr Mugarisanwa invited two Iranian women – one of them married – to his apartment in Teheran at around 8:35pm.

It is an offence punishable by a prison term for a married Iranian woman to be alone with a man who is not her husband.

One of the women drugged Mr Mugarisanwa and the diplomat, in his own report, said they stole his personal property including his office keys, as he lay unconscious.

Two newspapers subsequently published articles on the matter on March 3, headlined “The consequences of lustful behaviour of a foreign diplomat who picked up two street women”, and “The consequences of whimsy capriciousness of a foreign diplomat”.

On March 7, the diplomat received a letter informing him that he had been recalled and would be based in Harare.

Ambassador Bimha pointed out that Mr Mugarisanwa should have respected the laws and regulations of his hosts and that his actions were putting the Government of Zimbabwe into disrepute.

The Secretary for Foreign Affairs also averred that his office had the right to transfer personnel in cases of breach of contract and the recall was in compliance with the law and would “minimise discomfort on his (Mugarisanwa’s) part”.

The Labour Court said Ambassador Bimha noted in the letter that Mr Mugarisanwa “was failing to cope with the social living conditions in Iran as he was previously counselled on acts of indiscretion involving relations with women”.

In April, Mr Mugarisanwa wrote to the Foreign Affairs Ministry acknowledging that one of the two women who drugged him was married.

Mr Mugarisanwa argued that the transfer would result in a disruption of his plans as he had children at Gateway School in Harare whose fees were being footed by Government while he was stationed abroad.

He said his salary would drop from US$5056 to US$165.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Iran, Mr Nicholas Kitikiti, also filed his own report on the matter.

The Labour Court on June 24 ruled that Mr Mugarisanwa had been recalled on the basis of reports by the media, Ambassador Kitikiti and his own report but disciplinary proceedings had been deferred until the diplomat was back in Harare.

Citing the 2002 case of the director of works and Anor versus Nyasulu and Ors, Labour Court president Mrs Betty Chidziva said: “Even if the transfer had been justifiable as merely administrative moves and not punitive ones, the respondent had a legitimate expectation of being heard before being transferred, so that his views, wishes and personal circumstance would be taken into account.”

She added: “The transfer is a drastic action. The recall to head office means that he will forfeit the US$5000 monthly salary and payment of school fees for his children at Gateway.

“The applicant has already lost all these benefits before he has been heard.

“In this case the applicant had the legitimate expectation to be heard before he was recalled and before his benefits were terminated but this was not done.”

As such, Mrs Chidziva ruled, Ambassador Bimha was interdicted from recalling Mr Mugarisanwa until disciplinary proceedings were complete.

“(Ambassador Bimha) be and is ordered to reinstate the applicant without loss of salary and benefits and to restore the applicant’s diplomatic status as well as pay his children’s school fees.”

The Foreign Affairs secretary was also ordered to bear the costs of the application. The Public Service Commission was cited as the second respondent.

(Source)

The current Mashonaland Central governor and ZANU PF apologist, Martin Dinha was involved in massive looting of council property after the defeat of his party in council elections by the MDC in March 2008, investigations carried out by the MDC – led Bindura Town Council have revealed.

In an interview with The Changing Times this week, Bindura mayor, Daniso Wakatama, said it was shocking that Dinha, who was then the outgoing Bindura mayor, could engage in such rampant looting of council property at the expense of service delivery to the people.

“Dinha and other ZANU PF councillors were involved in massive looting and illegal auctioning of council property in 2008.

“There was virtually no service delivery to talk of when we went into office as the operations at the council had literally collapsed, all vehicles left behind were grounded and council run enterprises had closed.

The council was in the red and this put us in a very difficult situation in our bid to resuscitate service delivery,” said Mayor Wakatama. Investigations by the council have shown that the mayoral house, which was occupied by Dinha was sold to him for a shocking amount of about US$48.

A council pre-school was also sold to a former ZANU PF councillor only identified as Chitumba under as yet unclear circumstance. Chitumba is now sub-letting the pre-school, which has left the residents of Bindura shocked by the level of corruption that was being practised by ZANU PF in the town.

“But as council we will soon conduct a special audit to identify all assets that were looted by ZANU PF officials and will definitely recover them,” promised Mayor Wakatama.

Mayor Wakatama also said Zimbabwe National Water Supply Authority (Zinwa) was also involved in massive asset stripping just before they handed back the control of water supply to the council.

“All water pumps were vandalised at our water works, a brand new tractor and two motor cycles disappeared and up to now nothing has been recovered,” he said.

However, he said despite this rampant abuse of power by the former ZANU PF councillors, the Bindura Town Council remained resolute in making sure that better service delivery was restored to all residents and businesses.

Two council clinics have been restocked after the council sourced seven tonnes of medical supplies from the Embassy of Iran last December.

“The council has also managed to acquire two utility vehicles for the works’ department and an ambulance as people had resorted to hiring private cars at a high cost whenever they needed ambulance services for urgent treatment at the hospital or clinic,” he said.

On the issue of sewer reticulation, Mayor Wakatama said; “We have partnered with the United Nations Children and Education Fund (UNICEF) who are providing technical support to revamp the entire sewer reticulation system as the old infrastructure had virtually collapsed due to the increase in population in the town.

Bindura has a population of about 150000 people. “So far we have received sewer rods and protective clothing for the sewer department from UNICEF.

We also have in stock, six months supply of water treatment chemicals,” he said. On social housing, Mayor Wakatama said the council had joined hands with a non-governmental organisation, Zimbabwe Homeless Federation, to build low income houses for the poor.

“I urge all residents with no stands, to register with the council so that they can benefit from the scheme. Land for the scheme has already been identified,” he said.

Turning to investment opportunities, the mayor said Bindura was now ripe for any business opportunities and investors should take advantage as the city had on offer 1, 3 hectares of prime land in the Central Business District.

“The process of applying for commercial and industrial stands is hassle free,” he assured investors. He promised flea market traders who had been neglected for a long time they would soon be allocated to a new place whose construction is nearly finished
in town.

The traders had been displaced under the ZANU PF led Operation Murambatsvina, which saw thousands of Zimbabweans homeless and businesses destroyed.

However, the mayor said council was owed nearly US$1, 7 million by the residents and businesses but the main defaulters were government departments and this had at times seen the council failing to pay its employees on time as revenue collected could not meet the salaries bill.

“But we have engaged the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Sesel Zvidzai with a list of government departments that owe the council so as that he can assist in recovering the money,” he said.

Bindura, the provincial capital for Mashonaland Central province, attained its town status in 1999 and has four residential suburbs, with Chipadze being the oldest.

It is mainly a predominantly mining town with two of the biggest mines in the country; Ashanti Goldfields and Trojan Nickel mine.The council also manages three schools, Chipindura and Chipadze primary and secondary schools.

The town is run by 12 councillors all from MDC and three special interest councillors from ZANU PF appointed by Ignatius Chombo, despite their defeat in the 2008 elections.

However, since going into office in 2008, the councillors have been a target of ZANU PF and police crackdown on various trumped-up charges.“On 29 March this year, we had to postpone a special full council meeting because four of our councillors had been arrested on spurious charges of undermining ZANU PF’s First Secretary, Robert Mugabe,” he said.

Mayor Wakatama also spent some time in remand prison after he was arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Perrence Shiri.

He was acquitted after the State had failed to prove its case However, Mayor Wakatama vowed that despite the attempts by ZANU PF and other State agents in frustrating their work in council,the councillors would continue serving the people.

“We were elected by the people of Bindura to serve them and we will continue doing that despite the harassment and arrests we are getting.

ZANU PF should know that this is no longer its strong territory as they thought before but that this town is predominantly MDC.

“But we will continue to see that service delivery is brought to the people regardless of their political affiliation,” said Mayor Wakatama.

(Source)

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