Ratepayers around Zimbabwe have dismissed as a cheap political gimmick the order by Zanu PF politburo member and local government minister Ignatius Chombo for local authorities to write off all municipal debts.
The MDC-T said Chombo was trying to cover himself and other Zanu PF heavyweights, who habitually did not pay rates.
On the street and on social networks, commentators were even more direct.
“I think anyone who can listen to Chombo’s rubbish is mad. Why now?” said Qaphelizitha Donga.
“This is cheap policking by Chombo. Why cancel the debts now, one week before elections? We are no longer gullible,” said Donald Mzondo.
Added Eveready Moyo: “This is a bizarre decision. Where will the local authorities get the revenue to keep them afloat and function? Poor timing and vote canvassing.”
The MDC-T expressed outrage at Chombo’s decision.
“We note with concern the timing of Chombo’s directive. It is not a genuine directive meant to benefit the suffering people of Zimbabwe, but it is a Zanu PF campaign tool as it has realised that the people are going to punish them on 31 July for mismanaging the economy over the last 33 years,” MDC-T said in a statement on Tuesday. “Chombo’s directive will cripple the day to day operations of the local councils as most of the people who have highly inflated bills are senior Zanu PF officials including Chombo, who owns hundreds of properties across Zimbabwe, that were acquired under unclear circumstances. It is the culture for Zanu PF officials not to pay their bills and rates and at the beginning of this year, Mugabe and his Grace owed ZESA US$300 000 while ministers from his party owe similar amounts.”


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