Editorial: Chombo’s debt relief a trap for failure

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LOCAL Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo, has since President Robert Mugabe’s controversial re-election last month, been behaving like the proverbial bull in a China shop.

Southern Editorial

Chombo has been on a crusade to strike fear at the heart of the Bulawayo City Council and other MDC-T dominated municipalities.

It would appear the strategy is politically calculated to destabilise Bulawayo and other urban local authorities seen as the only remaining strongholds of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Chombo, obviously out to please his boss ahead of the appointment of a new Cabinet probably in a few days, is eager for MDC-T councils to totally write off bills that have been accumulated by residents in the last four years, ostensibly to fulfil a host of election sweeteners Zanu PF dangled ahead of the July 31 election.

We have no problem with debt relief for residents. However, threats by Chombo now indicate that this is more than debt relief but a trap for failure being set by Zanu PF for councils controlled by the MDC-T.

Like a village bully, Chombo has been threatening these municipalities and councillors he accuses of defying his directives.

But the Zanu PF politburo member should be reminded that councillors he is threatening were elected just like him and it will be interesting to see what measures Chombo will take to enforce this directive and how legal or constitutional that will be.

Chombo should also be reminded that we are aware that this was a decision made in the heat of the populist nature of the election campaigns. Now what we see is Zanu PF being forced to protect its credibility among its supporters by ensuring that its promise is delivered.

But this Zanu PF hare-brained populist policy has already financially crippled the Bulawayo municipality, for example.

As we write, Bulawayo City Council’s entire work force has not been paid their July salaries as residents have been reluctant to pay their debts as a result of Chombo’s reckless directives that encourage lawlessness among law-abiding residents.

It is our submission that this is a trap for failure by Chombo probably still seething with anger that the people of Bulawayo and Harare had the temerity to thump their nose at his boss, Mugabe, despite Zanu PF throwing a host of electoral sweeteners at them.

Urban councils should be wary of Chombo’s trap.