Bulawayo’s Deputy Mayor’s Controversial Acqusition Of Ascot Land For Town Houses Construction

Martin Moyo

BULAWAYO residents have petitioned Parliament to order an investigation into alleged illegal land grabbing involving some local councillors. The residents said in the petition: “Our attention was drawn to this possible plunder after revelations that two councillors, James Sithole of Ward 7 and Charles Moyo of Ward 9, had applied and been awarded town house stands at Parklands. The stands, measuring 3,7 hectares and 2,3 hectares, are valued at US$184,000 and US$112,000 respectively.”

Deputy Mayor Gift Banda has also been accused of underhand dealings in acquiring land at Ascot Race Course to build town houses. The three councillors deny any wrongdoing, saying their acquisitions were above board but residents and the government argue the land deals are irregular.

In the letter copied to Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Mugove Chokuda, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Bulawayo Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo, the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, the residents called for an audit of the city’s land, alleging MDC-T councillors could be involved in illicit dealings to acquire residential stands.

The residents represented by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) — an organisation normally linked to the opposition party — demanded prosecution of councillors found guilty.

“BPRA is writing this letter requesting for an investigation of land deals in Bulawayo and an audit of stands awarded to Bulawayo councillors since 2013. BPRA is calling for the investigation and audit due to concerns that councillors may be abusing their positions to corruptly amass wealth after noting that there is a trend whereby land is being parcelled out to councillors at an unprecedented rate,” wrote BPRA coordinator Rodrick Fayayo.

He said it was imperative that the audit be carried out immediately to determine the extent of the suspected abuse.

“An investigation of land deals under the current tenure of council and an audit of all stands acquired by councillors is in order. BPRA believes such an investigation is essential to separate the corrupt councillors from the dedicated ones who are working towards the betterment of the lives of the residents of Bulawayo,” said Fayayo.

Minister Moyo has also slammed the councillors for alleged corruption saying it was up to the residents to kick them out of office.

“It’s a pity that they got into power for money. They aren’t there to assist the people. It’s now up to the people to keep them there and be milked out of their resources,” she said.

“People must learn to choose leaders who have their own things who wouldn’t go around taking everything that they come across. It’s up to the people to keep them there even if they’re Zanu-PF or MDC,” said Minister Moyo.

Two weeks ago Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Martin Moyo dismissed BPRA’s corruption allegations.

“The said abuse of office is just a perception by BPRA because all procedure was followed and that information is in the public domain. I don’t know how he (Banda) will raise the money, that’s his personal responsibility because at the end of the day, the payment will have to be made,” said Clr Moyo. Nqobile Tshili. source -Chronicle

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