Residents Up In Arms As Mayor, Town Clerk Grab Land

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO residents are up in arms with the local council for giving preferential treatment to the city’s town clerk Christopher Dube and mayor Solomon Mguni in the allocation of prime land.

According to the latest council minutes, Dube has been offered a commercial stand in Selbourne Park.

The 24 407-hectare stand is adjacent to another piece of land also offered to him by the local authority a few years ago as part of his conditions of service.

Dube’s land offer comes barely a month while Mguni was also allocated a 2.5-hectare prime land in Lower Rangemore for a paltry $165 per month for 25 years.

This massive accumulation of land by the two Bulawayo senior officials has infuriated Bulawayo residents and have demanded the reversal of the deals.

“Does the town clerk need a hectare for accommodation? The land in question is given to him as a commodity for commerce rather than conditions of service. Even corporates have been unable to negotiate for such terms that are out of touch with emergent realities,” Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said.

“We are calling forward the mayor and town clerk to declare what they already own in assets in line with the declaration of assets and interest policy adopted by the BCC (Bulawayo City Council) some time ago in keeping with section 198 of the Constitution.

“Moreover, we are calling for the publication of the BCC expansion plans for public scrutiny,” said Ndlovu in a letter dated September 4 and addressed to the BCC’s lands and planning committee.

“It is our hope that the committee shall rectify the issue and respond to these concerns that have a potential to erode public trust in council processes,” he said.

Mguni chairs the powerful General Purposes Committee that approved the land transactions.

“We are of the view that there has been a noticeable trend between the town clerk and the mayor doing each other favours at least reciprocal one after the other. According to our observation, not long ago the town clerk was seen to be moving a motion that the mayor receives a vast piece of land within the city council as it were,” Ndlovu observed in his letter.

“The mayor was eventually given the land through the town clerk’s advocacy and today it is the mayor for the town clerk. As if that was not enough, we are disturbed to realise that the minutes in our possession show at least a similar attempt to do the same with the town clerk.”