By Mary Taruvinga
VILLAGERS in Chinhanga, Manyame Rural District Council (RDC) have reported MDC Alliance councillor, Blessing Tangwara to the Special Anti-Corruption Commission (SACU), accusing him of taking advantage of a boundary dispute in their area to enrich himself.
Tangwara is the councillor for ward 1, Seke District, Manyame RDC.
SACU is housed under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office and complements the work of the police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
However, according to villagers, Tangwara is abusing his office for personal enrichment in the Riverside area of Ward 1 Seke, an area under a boundary dispute between Chitungwiza Municipality and Manyame RRDC.
“The named person is deliberately and unlawfully abrogating himself allocation powers of both urban and communal land under his jurisdiction. Evidence on the ground suggests wanton resettlement of hundreds of MDC-affiliated people into Chinhanga village ahead of the 2023 elections,” they wrote in a letter dated July 26 2021.
The villagers said there was a Manyame RDC Agriculture Committee resolution that resolved all the people settled by Chitungwiza Municipality as illegal settlers and through Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) have their stay regularised.
They were also ordered to pay US$1 000 each as penalty fees to Manyame RDC.
However, instead of council officials gathering the data, Tangwara allegedly did the task on his own and in the process left out many qualifying residents who have been domiciled in the area over the past 10 years.
In their place, Tangwara, put some names of his relatives and undeserving land seekers.
“A brief look at the list available at the council (office) indicates about six or seven Tangwara’s relatives as beneficiaries out of the 70 names appearing,” reads part of the letter to SACU.
The villagers added the local council issued out offer letters for the 70 beneficiaries and unprocedurally handed them over to Tangwara.
However, Tangwara alleged the offer letters were stolen from his car, and the council reproduced new offer letters with new features. This, according to villagers, was against council policy which states individual beneficiaries should collect their offer letters personally from the local authority.
Tangwara is further accused of failing to hand over the offer letter to the rightful owners and the due date for payment of the penalty has passed.
“Evidence gathered suggests that Mr Tangwara and his associates have been selling these papers for huge sums of money ranging from US$5 000 to above US$10 000 each to desperate home seekers.
“The whole allocation process was dubiously done to benefit a small clique of councillors and their cohort’s. As we speak, a small illegal urban-like location has been created by Cllr Tangwara in Chinhanga village to boost his chances of re-election in the ward,” the villagers claim.
“Further to that, Mr Tangwara is doubling as the headman and de-facto chair of the Agriculture Committee in blatant violation of council procedures.”
The villagers also said they had never been addressed by the local headman Chinhanga, but by Tangwara.
They further accused him of extortion after he suggested at a meeting that all beneficiaries with land in excess of 1 000m2 should pay him some token of varying amount as protection fee.
“We request that Mr Tangwara be investigated forthwith and that council regularise all beneficiaries without fear or favour. We also request that council comes and regularise the people itself rather than giving authority to corrupt people such as Mr Tangwara.”
The villagers also want the whole process of data collection of illegal settlers to be re-done without the involvement of Tangwara.
“We are aggrieved that us the genuine beneficiaries are being prejudiced by Cllr. Tangwara simply because of political affiliation and greed on his part. We are accused of being affiliated to Zanu PF.
Efforts by NewZimbabwe.com to get comments from Tangwara and SACU head Tabani Mpofu were unsuccessful.