Chamisa’s integrity panel scares off councillors

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Tawanda Marwizi

Several MDC-Alliance councillors are on the verge of dumping Nelson Chamisa’s faction after the party instituted the Integrity and Accountability Panel which is feared to be targeting corrupt elements within the organisation.

Reports have indicated that this could see several councillors in the MDC-A dominated local authorities ditching the main opposition party for the recently rejuvenated MDC-T led by Thokhozani Khupe.

Chamisa set up the IAP to investigate corruption allegations in MDC-A raised by citizens with top lawyer Thabani Mpofu leading the panel.

The panel, according to Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda, was expected to ensure the MDC-A leader’s zero tolerance on corruption.

The IAP, according to sources, has already hit the ground running while investigating several corruption cases by councillors in local authorities dominated by the opposition party.

The move has, however, sent many councillors into panic amid reports that some are considering dumping the party for the MDC-T.

“Most councillors have been involved in some shaddy deals and they are taking this as an advantage to defect to the MDC-T. They know that they are investigations and the reports coming out soon will definitely implicate them,” the sources said.

Some councillors in Harare including former mayor Herbert Gomba have been arrested and dragged before the criminal courts facing allegations of abusing their offices.

The sources added that Epworth councillors who were voted on an MDC-A ticket, Batanai Masunda, Gift July and Joshua Chinonyengerwa, are under investigations over abuse of office allegations.

“Everyone in MDC Alliance knows that Masunda is facing serious allegations and him including his colleagues are under investigation. Most of them are likely to ditch the MDC-A to avoid being investigated and we believe that more are likely to follow suit,” the sources said.

Three councillors from the Kwekwe Municipality have already defected to the MDC-T faction.

“More councillors are likely to follow suit as they avoid the Mpofu investigations but at the end of the day more people are going to be exposed especially among the councillors who have been involved in some shaddy deals,” they said.

While Mpofu was not readily available MDC-A secretary general Charlton Hwende said the move was part of his organisation’s efforts to serve the people.

“We are a party that serves the interests of the people and we have no room for corruption. Setting up of IAP was a clear example that we do not tolerate corruption in MDC-A,” he said.

Hwende, however, said he could not give more details indicating that the IAP was already investigating several allegations made against party members holding public office.

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