LOCAL Government minister Ignatious Chombo has appointed a committee to probe Chinhoyi executive mayor Ripisa Kapesa on allegations of abuse of office, amid assertions that the move was part of Zanu PF infighting in Mashonaland West.
tify>The five-member probe team is headed by acting Harare Provincial Administrator Justin Chivavaya. It started investigating Kapesa last week.
Kapesa, the Zanu PF Mashonaland West secretary for administration, and party provincial chairman John Mafa, allegedly belong to a faction headed by Policy Implementation minister Webster Shamu, which is fighting to control the province against a camp headed by Chombo.
Shamu and Chombo are both members of the ruling party’s politburo — the supreme decision- making body outside congress.
Chivavaya yesterday confirmed the probe, but insisted it was not targeted at Kapesa.
“We are investigating Chinhoyi council as a whole. Our terms of reference were global and if anyone in the council abused office, he or she will be exposed,” Chivavaya said.
However, impeccable sources said Chombo was using his power as Local Government minister to oust Kapesa and was also reportedly working flat out to have Mafa and the mayor removed from Zanu PF’s provincial executive during the on-going party restructuring exercise.
“Chivavaya’s committee is investigating Kapesa on allegations that he bought a vehicle without competitive bidding and allocated a commercial stand to businessman Phillip Chiyangwa without following proper procedures,” a source said. “Chombo also want the committee to find out how Kapesa hired his personal guards, amid suspicion that he breached council recruitment procedures.”
Chiyangwa was allocated the stand to build a state-of-the-art hotel.
A member of the probe team who asked for anonymity said the investigations commenced last Tuesday when they obtained documents from Chinhoyi council’s heads of departments.
“On Wednesday we interviewed councillors one-by-one on how Kapesa was running the council and two days later we interviewed the mayor,” the member said. “I cannot give you details on our findings except to say our mandate is to find out whether or not Kapesa abused his office for personal gain.”
Zanu PF sources, however, insisted that the investigation had nothing to do with abuse of office, but political manoeuvring in the province. — Staff Writer.