Chitungwiza Town Council dissolved •Mayor, 24 councillors affected •$7m corrupt land deals cited

Minister Kasukuwere

Minister Kasukuwere

Innocent Ruwende and Nyemudzai Kakore—
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has suspended Chitungwiza Mayor Phillip Mutoti and all 24 councillors for allegedly corruptly allocating themselves tracts of land worth over $7 million. Chitungwiza Municipality has 14 MDC-T councillors, including Mayor Mutoti and 11 Zanu-PF councillors. The minister will appoint a three-person caretaker council to clean up the rot in the municipality.

An internal audit shows councillors and officials allocated themselves commercial and institutional stands.

Human resources manager Mary Mukonyora got 8,41 hectares, Clr Simbiso Mhike (8,413 hectares), Clr Nicholas Mashayamombe (3, 839ha) and Clr Charamba Mlambo (46 stands).

Other councillors also benefited from the looting spree.

The audit revealed councillors and staff allocated themselves stands/land and undercharged by as much as $200 and proceeded to sell the same stands for $5 000.

The councillors were given seven days to respond after they were summoned to the parent ministry together with management to answer to the charges.

Minister Kasukuwere said the municipality was plagued by poor governance, negligible service delivery and outright corruption.

The municipality serves a population of nearly half a million people.

“I have therefore suspended from council all 25 councillors and given them seven days in which to respond to the various allegations made against them.

“These allegations include rampant abuse of state land for personal benefit by both councillors and officials,” he said.

He accused them of “ . . . flagrant disregard for laid down procedures for estate management, the failure to manage the housing development within the council area, the disregard for the law and for circulars and directives issued by the Ministry and the general malaise of the council.”

Minister Kasukuwere said from the poor management exhibited, he had no alternative but to take stern measures which should bring the municipality into line with norms and standards of sound local governance.

He said the caretaker council would ensure long-standing housing stand conflicts were resolved and transparency in the allocation of houses and service provision.

“The Ministry has sent investigators, drawn up recovery plans, written numerous letters, placed various sanctions on the council but the problems still persist. The relationship between the council and the residents it was established to serve is at an all-time low resulting in almost complete breakdown of dialogue of any sort,” he said.

Councillors interviewed by The Herald said the suspensions were not fair as the Minister based his charges on a biased audit report.

It is not the first time Minister Kasukuwere has suspended councillors. In 2015, the Minister suspended Gweru Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, his deputy Artwell Manyorauta and 14 councillors on allegations of gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs.

Thirteen of the suspended councillors are from the MDC-T while three were from the ruling Zanu-PF.

The council was accused of failure to provide basic services with residents going for months without potable water while sewer bursts and potholes had become a common sight.

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  • yowe

    Why do corrupt government officials only get suspended?? Why are these cases not taken up by ZRP Fraud Squad and CID Serious Crimes…suspending people and then eventually firing them and giving them very generous exit packages is the reason why corruption is very lucrative in this country…Again i say corruption is the greatest sanction we have bedeviling this country

    • Bert

      Very correct. The entire system is a joke, zanu pf can and will always do what they want with no accountability. And as for kasahuku firing for corruption, well that is the tea pot calling the kettle black.

  • Moe_Scyslack2

    Don’t stop there Tyson. Fire the person who sold land to Magaya.

    • mental poison

      THEN HE WILL HAVE TO FIRE HIMSELF. SPOT ON

  • Masaisai

    If a thief catches another thief, can we say he has done a good job? Just asking!

  • Cde Jairos Tapfuma

    The issue of land in Harare needs Presidential intervention. It has become a norm that every open space has to have stands pegged or people simply moving on to build substandard structures. For quite some time the spaceat the intersection of First Street and George Silundika right at the center of the CBD were some illegal tuckshops built there only to be destroyed after somebody had made enough money through the illegal allocation of that space. This is the kind of corruption that people are saying are tired aout and Zanu-PF does not seem to care. Instead the leadership seem to defend the minister, Kasukuwere in charge yet he is the person who is supposed to deal with this rot right from the day he was appointed into office. But what do we see? the same Minister embroiled in land deals in Chishawasha, selling the lot to his siblings!

    At the airport along Harare-Chitungwiza highway is a new cemetery and a residential area to the right side towards St.Marys. The feeder roads into these new developments just open up into the busy highway from nowhere with no proper planning visible and nobody cares. Harare will never be the same again…never ever! Worse still under Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change which has ceased to be a party of organic intellectuals from the working class. They have become more bourgeoisie than Zanu-PF. Someone needs to rescue this country surely, and I believe that someone should come from Zanu-PF after it has fumigated itself enough to get rid of pests.

  • theheraldonline

    Dear “sindoooraaniket”
    Kindly refer to second sentence of the first paragraph which says, “Chitungwiza Municipality has 14 MDC-T councillors, including Mayor Mutoti and 11 Zanu-PF councillors.”

  • zimbotry

    Yes but they should have a day in court so their innocence is proved. That does not happen