Re-elected Gweru Ward 2 councillor and former mayor Josiah Makombe has vowed to press on with his efforts to rid corruption from the city council, despite not being the leader of council business anymore.
The former Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe president, who was recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC T in December last year, was replaced by Ward 1 councillor Hamutendi Kombai as mayor. Makombe bounced back at Gweru City Council after reclaiming his ward in Saturday`s by-elections.
The former mayor said that he would be a “watchdog” for residents against corruption at the townhouse.
“Obviously I will be a gatekeeper for Gwerurians, a watchdog. I will not allow corruption to take place and yes, I am not going to be the mayor, sometimes you know when corruption takes place you are not aware of it and you can only probably when it has happened,” Makombe told 98.4FM News.
He said that though being the mayor gave him an advantage of getting reports of corruption faster and easier, being an ordinary councillor would not hinder him from pursuing any graft allegations.
Makombe added: “If it (corruption report) does not come to the council you would not know what is happening. It`s different when you are the mayor, but with the experience that I have I will not allow corruption and they know that when it comes to issues of corruption, I am a no-nonsense person.”
The former mayor once invited the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate allegations of graft at the local authority. During his tenure at the helm of the city council, several top council officials have been summoned and questioned by ZACC over corruption allegations.
During the time Makombe was mayor, Housing and Community Services Director Shingirai Tigere was arrested on charges of illegal land allocation, while Estates and Valuations Manager, Gibson Chingwadza was suspended for prejudicing the council of US$300 000 through shady property leases and sales.
Makombe came back into local government together with his counterpart, former Kwekwe mayor Angeline Kasipo who had also been recalled by Mwonzora last year. Kasipo, who was replaced by Ward 2 councillor Future Titora, retained her Ward 10 seat.
She told 98.4FM News that she would push for the completion of the projects she oversaw while she was the leader of council business before her recall.
“The projects which we had started during my tenure, we are going to make sure that we finish them. As you know, Kwekwe has a water reticulation problem, especially Ward 10, where the people of Ward 10, my ward, we have issues with water.”
“Every time there is low pressure, water does not reach every part of Ward 10, so, we had started renewing the whole water reticulation system. We were buying new pumps. I do not know what happened during the time I was absent from council, but I can promise the people of my ward, I can promise the people of Kwekwe that this big problem we are going to solve once and for all.”
Kasipo said being in council as an ordinary councillor would not deter her from pushing for the completion of these projects, and for a review of outdated by-laws.
“I am going back as an ordinary councillor and that is okay with me. To me being the mayor was never an end in itself. The decision-making power in local authorities rests with the council, not the mayor, so I will be part of the decision making, Kasipo said”
Cllr Kasipo returned to council together with her deputy Ward 5 Cllr Melody Chingarande and Cllr for Ward 12 Maxwell Washington Moyo in last Saturday`s by-elections.
In Gweru, re-elected Mkoba constituency member of parliament Amos Chibaya pledged to temporarily set aside party politics to serve the people. He said elected officials have a responsibility to everyone under their jurisdiction, not just the party supporters.
“Now that I have been given the mandate, I promise to represent the people of Mkoba people across the political or any other social divide,” Chibaya said. He added “An MP`s task is to play the legislative role and this I promise to deliver for the people of Mkoba. Once elected, your responsibility is to everyone.”
Chibaya thanked the people of Mkoba for voting him back into parliament and restoring his mandate as their representative to the government.