The MDC-T appears to be backtracking on its much-publicised lifestyle audit of councillors with senior party officials hinting that the somersault is aimed at avoiding deepening fissures within the party ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Minutes of a meeting held at the MDC-T headquarters last Friday indicate focus has now shifted to a “ward performance audit” rather than a drive to weed out corruption as claimed when the probe was launched early this year.
Councillors who attended the meeting, chaired by party organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, disclosed that they were informed the lifestyle audit had been put on hold.
“In the beginning, we were told that the audit was on lifestyles, but the tone changed dramatically during the meeting with Chamisa.
“We were told that the audit was now focusing on our performance and not lifestyles,” said one of the councillors.
MDC-T spokesman Mr Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the audit was refocused.
“We instituted the audit focusing on the evaluation of the performance of our councillors to establish whether service delivery is up to standard,” he said.
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Deputy Minister Mr Sessel Zvidzai said a report on the findings will be ready in a fortnight.
“The probe was targeting all councillors in the respective councils nationwide. It was a national audit on all councils and the report will be ready in plus or minus two weeks.
“If any councillor was involved in any corrupt acts, it is going to be unearthed by the probe team and they will face the music,” he said.
However, Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo has since ruled out the possibility of firing councillors based on the MDC-T report.
Minister Chombo said he was waiting for the probe result, adding that its effect will be political and not administrative.
“The MDC is a party which is free to do what it wants. However, whatever comes up let it be political not administrative.
“As Government, we have our own way of making councillors accountable, but if there is need, we can use the MDC-T report to probe further,” he said.
Some MDC-T councillors have been accused of abusing office to amass personal wealth.