MUTARE – Corruption by MDC Alliance Mutare City councillors has gone into overdrive, with the elected representatives allocating themselves extra stands, defying government policy that allows a stand for each per councillor per term.
According to the Urban Councils regulations, a councillor only gets one residential stand per term.
If the councillor is elected for the second term, he or she will not be allocated another stand.
The Urban Councils’ directive requires councillors to pay 40% of the full purchase price on stands allocated to them as a benefit during their tenure of office.
However, corrupt retained councillors who were not supposed to be allocated stands were recently parcelled pieces of stands in the plush and affluent suburb of Murambi following a resolution from a Housing and Community Services Department meeting held last week.
The meeting resolved to allocate the stands to the new and retained councillors.
Contacted for a comment on Tuesday, Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi, who is allegedly one of the beneficiaries, said he was not aware of the allocation of the stands to any retained councillor.
“Yes, we offered our first time councillors stands as provided for by the the by-laws.
“I am not sure whether there was a second term councillor who got the land.
“Our administration open, and I think the council spokesperson may be ideal person to approach with regards to the names, if any, on who got residential land,” Tandi said.
The mayor was also concerned on why some journalists and councillors were after him.
“I am really concerned about why people always seem to be chasing after councillors,” Tandi said.
Concerned Mutare residents want the alleged massive corruption at Mutare City to be halted, saying they were increasingly becoming impatient at the alleged endless looting.
The United Mutare Residents Ratepayers’ Trust (UMRRT) programmes manager Edison Dube said the corruption at council was unsustainable.
“The looting has to come to an end. If it’s true, then it means the town clerk has never shown any seriousness in the fight against corruption,” Dube said.
“As residents, we wonder where the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is in all this. We must start witnessing some arrests. We will surely start filing formal reports to the relevant authorities,” Dube explained.
The latest move comes after the full Mutare City council meeting recently resolved that the municipality would acquire six top-of-the-range vehicles for the mayor and town clerk, Joshua Maligwa, who will get a Toyota Prado each.
Four heads of department from Finance, Engineering, Housing and Community Services and Health Services are set to get Toyota Fortuners each.
The market value of the vehicles is about US$750 000.
The same councillors at Mutare City have previously been accused for fraudulent acquisition of stands in Mutare without paying a cent, allegedly prejudicing the local authority of potential revenue.
A forensic audit done by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing from March 2007 and released in February 2019 revealed that the councillors acquired commercial and residential stands for free.
Some of the councillors reportedly allocated themselves a total of three
stands each and sold them without paying cessation and related taxes, prejudicing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority thousands of dollars in the shady land deals.
It is alleged that some of the councillors have bought cars and houses and ‘leading luxurious lives’ from the proceeds of the underhand deals.
Sources say the councillors have snubbed a meeting with the party’s hierarchy in Harare over the matter.
MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa has been largely blamed for failing to reign in his councillors who are said to be tarnishing his image and that of the party.