SW Radio Africa (London)

9 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Chombo Fires MDC-T Councillor for Exposing Corruption At Umguza

An MDC-T councillor has been dismissed from the Umguza rural district council, for blowing the lid off large scale corruption in the local government authority. He has vowed to contest the dismissal.

Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu exposed a corruption scandal involving $1.6 million tendered to a non-existent company, to construct a 12km stretch of road in Umguza.

But on Thursday he was shocked to receive a letter of dismissal from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.

Chombo's letter, dated 22nd October 2012 reads: 'I hearby advise you that you've been found guilty of dismissible offenses and I'm thus in terms of section 157/4 of the rural district council Act (29) dismiss you from being a councillor of Umguza rural district council with immediate effect.'

Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa on Friday he was at a loss for words to explain the dismissal, apart from saying it is 'a joke of the century.' The councillor, the only one from the MDC-T in Umguza out of 18, believes he's paying a heavy penalty for whistle blowing.

'I exposed the scandal with good intentions, to get rid of the rot in the council but I'm surprised I'm now on the receiving end. What will people in the district say about us? They will obviously believe we are protecting corrupt council officials. What a shame,' Ndlovu said.

The scandal involved the chief executive officer of the council, Collen Moyo, who corruptly awarded a tender for $1.6 million to a non-existent company to rehabilitate Ilitshe road, a 12km stretch that connects Victoria Falls to Nkayi in Matabeleland North.

Ndlovu said he became suspicious of the project when he realized that council manpower, including personnel and equipment, were being used to construct the road, when a tender had been 'purportedly' awarded to a private firm.

'It became obvious that something was amiss when council workers and graders were being used for the project. So when I made noise about it Moyo was arrested by the police last month,' Ndlovu added.

The Umguza CEO was released on $1,000 bail after spending more than a week in custody. He was given stringent bail conditions but to Ndlovu's surprise, he is back at work where he believes he is tampering with evidence.

'I couldn't believe it when I heard he is back at work when his case is still pending with the courts. He hasn't been exonerated yet, so what is he doing at the council offices. That man should only be allowed near the offices when he is cleared by the courts,' Ndlovu explained.

The rural district council is chaired by Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, wife to ZANU PF MP for the constituency Obert Mpofu, who is also the Mines Minister.

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