MDC Alliance Whips Chinhoyi Councillors To Rescind Farm Bricks Ban

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

RATTLED by the spectre of losing urban votes, MDC Alliance which dominates Chinhoyi Municipality’s council, has reportedly whipped councillors to move a motion to reverse last month’s resolution banning farm bricks in housing construction.

Impeccable sources in the opposition movement told at the weekend, the party leadership had directed mayor Garikai Dendera and the remaining five MDC Alliance councillors to rescind the unpopular decision, which is likely to cost them urban votes in the do-or-die 2023 harmonised elections.

MDC Alliance still commands a majority in the council following last December’s recall of six of its councillors.

Zanu PF has two councillors, while one won the seat as an independent candidate.

Said the source: “MDC Alliance councillors at Chinhoyi Municipality have been accused of selling out by way of an unpopular resolution to ban the use of farm bricks in a constituency made up of poor people.”

“The national leadership intervened after it was made aware of the situation on the ground. The resolution comes against a backdrop of a population of mostly self-employed residents struggling to eke out a living but yearn to own houses. How is this possible when such decisions are made?”

Sources said the timing of the ban also betrays a plot to cash-in on a monopoly to manufacture “standard and environmentally-smart” bricks by a coterie, which includes councillors, senior council staffers, and unsuspecting investors.

Added the source: “Some councillors are allegedly conniving with council managers and businesspersons, and are making frantic efforts to establish brick manufacturing companies, from which prospective land developers would be forced to buy bricks.”

Some councillors, who requested anonymity, confirmed to they had been whipped to, either reverse or extend the effective date of the ban by at least three years from now.

Mayor Dendera could not be reached for comment by the time of publishing.

Chinhoyi Municipality recently banned the use of farm bricks for building structures after noticing massive environmental degradation at their source, where sand poachers have left gaping holes.

The local authority has notified residents that use of farm bricks will not be permissible after the December 31, 2021 deadline.

“Notice is hereby given that council resolved at the ordinary council meeting held on September 16 at council chambers in Chinhoyi to ban use of farm bricks within the municipal area’s jurisdiction with effect from December 31 2021.Please note that failure to comply will result in the demolition of such structures built after December 31,2021,” reads the notice.

Council has given brick moulders and residents an ultimatum to wind up using the farm bricks to mitigate against the impact of environmental degradation.

Mutare and other towns, have banned the use of farm bricks for construction of commercial, industrial and residential structures, complying with directives from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).