- MDC academic fraud scandal, a litmus test for Nelson Chamisa-led party.
MDC councillors Kudzai Kadzombe and Denford Ngadziore will be arraigned before the opposition party’s Accountability and Integrity Panel over allegations of academic fraud, the organ’s chairperson Thabani Mpofu has said.
An internal audit conducted by Catholic University of Zimbabwe (CUZ) revealed that the MDC councillors used dishonesty to gain admission into the institution in the Faculty of Commerce, albeit with fake qualifications.
Insiders say a university worker who allowed them entry through unorthodox means has since been dismissed.
Kadzombe and Ngadziore have since been advised that their offers have been terminated until they get the basic requirements and seek readmission.
“Will ensure that the matter is placed before the panel,” Mpofu told Zim Morning Post.
The MDC Accountability and Integrity Panel was recently set up to investigate the conduct of business by Harare City Council councillors.
The case will be an litmus test to the Nelson Chamisa led party given that Ngadziore is one of Chamisa’s trusted lieutenants.
Residents say the MDC councillors’ alleged academic fraud reflects badly on the MDC-run council and could be among the reasons why service delivery has stalled.
The scandal also questions the pair’s integrity and ability to honestly tackle their key roles of oversight, representation and policymaking.
“It shows they were elected on the strength of sloganeering and being right with the party leadership, and not based on their track records of competence,” Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba said.
“The entry requirements for one to be a Ward Councillor should be based on merit and not the ability to chant party slogans and praise their party leaders in order to get into positions,” he continued.
“Ideally we strongly believe that at least three ordinary levels should be the entry qualifications for one to be considered into elected public office given the amount of work involved in policy making, oversight and facilitation of community development.”
HRT said the lack of a standard criteria to determine who can become a Councillor has created an opportunity for powerful elites in political parties “to manipulate their less educated policymakers by interpreting text for them and guiding them from behind on what policy positions to take and what to be saying in council deliberations.”
HRT said it was important to evaluate the performance of Ngadziore and Kadzombe in terms of their key roles of oversight, representation of the electorate, policymaking and facilitating community development.
“Councillor Kadzombe is the Chairperson of the Environment Management Committee, which is a highly technical committee in terms of its mandate and policy formulation for the City of Harare. If Councillors Kadzombe and Ngadziore so desires to advance themselves, they should not cut corners, but should take the long and painful route of studying to earn their qualifications,” Shumba said.