Andile Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has said the non-inclusion of locals in the appointment of Lupane local board was an oversight. In a telephone interview yesterday, Minister Kasukuwere said he had gone through a petition submitted to him by Lupane residents challenging the recent appointment of Lupane District Administrator Mrs Ennety Sithole and Lupane State University Vice Chancellor Professor Pardon Kuipa as local board commissioners.
Cde Kasukuwere said his ministry was going to look into the matter to ensure that the concerns of the local people were addressed in a fair manner.
“We have heard the concerns of the people and we are looking into ways of addressing the matter,” he said. “I am currently in Gwanda and once I am back in the office, we will take action to see to it that Lupane people are also engaged in such processes.
“We are looking at the matter. We will try to bring all interested parties on board and bring about a fair and locally acceptable solution to the oversight.”
Residents drafted a petition demanding the removal of the two from the board, saying locals were better placed to drive the development agenda of the local authority.
“It is only locals who can sustainably facilitate and accelerate the development of their communities,” reads the petition from the residents. “Minister, developmental decisions about Lupane must be indigenous and not foreign. It is good and devolutionary to always engage and have consultative decisions. Lupane has capable people to lead the development agenda of the town.”
Chief Mabhikwa of Lupane said his people felt sidelined from a process they needed to spearhead.
“My people approached me to tell me about the issue, expressing their concern and disgruntlement,” he said. “Pardon Kuipa has not been in Lupane for long and he has not been in the residents’ association.
“My people want a permanent resident of Lupane, not someone who has been brought to Lupane by their job. The bottom line is that Lupane people want a local, someone who has a birth connection with Lupane and has the place at heart. Lupane is not for visitors, but for locals. We cannot have visitors leading us, yet we have locals who are equally capable.”