By Bulawayo Correspondent
RATEPAYERS in Bulawayo have demanded the reversal of a controversial agreement that will allow the city’s mayor Solomon Mguni to lease 3, 5 hectares of council land under a 25-year lease at just $165 per month rent.
Recently, Bulawayo City Council offered MDC Alliance elected councillor, Mguni 3, 5 hectares of agricultural land in Lower Rangemore, leaving residents up in arms and accusing senior council officials of abusing privileges.
The residents, through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), Friday wrote a letter to the city’s town clerk Christopher Dube demanding the immediate reversal of the deal as it smacks of corruption.
“This act is a subset of injustice and a violation of the obligations of fairness for private gain and a betrayal of public trust,” reads part of the letter written to the town clerk by BPRA coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu.
Ndlovu went on to accuse Mguni of using his position as mayor to take the land which was initially allocated to one P. Phakathi.
Phakathi was dispossessed of the property after failing to develop it.
The BPRA coordinator queried the logic of leasing the land for a paltry amount while the council was in serious financial problems.
He said the land should instead be used for income generating projects that benefit the local authority.
“The land cannot just go into the hands of the mayor at no value in return, more so, for a period of 25 years. It is the view of BPRA that this amounts to a corrupt transaction and an ‘illegitimate purchase’ that encourages clientelism, patronage, and capture,” wrote Ndlovu in a letter dated June 19, 2020.
Mguni has, however, maintained the land deal is above board, and as a Bulawayo resident, was also entitled to land.