Local Government minister July Moyo has set up a commission of inquiry to look into the affairs of the City of Gweru, including service delivery and reports of corruption.

By Brenna Matendere

The development comes two days after suspended town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza appeared before an independent tribunal to answer corruption charges.

Mayor Josiah Makombe yesterday confirmed the development, but was coy on divulging its mandate.
“Yes, there is an investigation team that is coming, but it is not true that they want Gwatipedza to be back in office,” he said, commenting on reports that the inquiry was meant to find ways to reinstate the suspended town clerk.

“The team has got its own terms of reference and, as council, we see nothing bad in that.”

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Makombe also revealed that he had a discussion with Moyo about the commission.

However, sources told NewsDay Weekender that the tide could be turning on the councillors over the suspension of the town clerk.

“The position of a town clerk is a very powerful portfolio and the government of the day would want to protect it through a person loyal to them. While the MDC controls Gweru, it is Zanu PF which formed government and so it looks like the ruling party is moving to fight back the suspension of the town clerk,” said a source.

However, Makombe allayed the fears.

“Actually, I was aware of such a team coming because we discussed that with the minister before,” he said.

Asked whether the coming of the commission will not set a parallel process in the handling of the issue of the town clerk who is already under investigation, Makombe said: “I don’t think so, but we will see.”

In August 2015, the government, through then Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere dispatched a commission to Gweru led by former Masvingo town clerk Tsungai Mhangami.

There was, however, an outcry from residents that the commission looted council resources by awarding themselves hefty allowances and packages.