By Benjamin Chitate
I was shocked to read in the 13 March 2012 edition of The Herald newspaper the chairman of the so called Chitungwiza Revival Team appointed by Ignatius Chombo, Fungai Mbetsa, admitting that in addition to a monthly allowance of US$12 000 approved for him by Chombo, he is also getting another US$4 000, even though his hotel accommodation is paid for.
The least paid member of that committee earns US$10 000. To me this is a joke. Firstly, Mbetsa must be arrested for double dipping. Why is he taking another US$4 000 a month from council when the same council is paying him US$12 000 per month as directed by Chombo?
The committee must stick to the amounts prescribed by Chombo, and if it is found that they took an extra cent from the same council, they must all be arrested immediately.
The second worrying question is who approved such large payments from a bankrupt council, was it Ignatius Chombo alone, or it was a cabinet decision? Surely, something is wrong somewhere, and my suspicion is that Ignatius Chombo is firing MDC led councils so that he gets the opportunity to reward his friends in Zanu PF.
The backgrounds of the benefiting members who make out this committee must be investigated, and it will not be a surprise that they all belong to Zanu PF. An investigation must be carried out, and if Chombo is found to have been unreasonable in reaching such large figures, or not consulted other stake holders, he should be arrested, and the reasonable thing President Mugabe could do will be to fire him.
In the case of Mbetsa who has publicly confirmed double-dipping, I hope Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri will be very quick to investigate with the same zeal as he tried to investigate Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for a loan authorised by President Mugabe he obtained from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. I hope the Anti-Corruption Commission will be quick to act too.
If the allowances in question were indeed reached out of consultation by all relevant arms of government, I think it is very unfair for the tax payers, and must be revised. As Leonard Zhakata said in his 1999 song Todya tese, we must equitably share the national cake.
Benjamin Chitate, New Zealand
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