Source: Council summons former Mayor | The Sunday News May 26, 2019
Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
BULAWAYO Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube has claimed that he is a target of certain councillors and former councillors within the local authority hence the number of increased attempts to level corruption charges against him.
The town clerk made these remarks while giving evidence to the Bulawayo City Council’s audit committee over allegations of misconduct levelled against him and former Mayor, Alderman Martin Moyo.
The allegations emanated from a complaint tabled by the Affirmative Action Group where they questioned the move by Ald Moyo to write a letter confirming the awarding of mining claims to the town clerk before the passing of the actual resolution.
Mr Dube, through his company Belmac Investments, was awarded mining claims that are located at the council owned Aisleby Farm. He was meant to share the claim together with BDP Investments, who councillors also awarded claims at the farm.
BDP Investments is owned by ward five councillor, Felix Mhaka but by the time he was awarded the claims he had not been elected to the council chambers.
When the claim was awarded BDP Investments filed a complaint against Mr Dube, alleging that the town clerk went behind the company’s back to go peg his claims, taking a huge chunk of the farm. The local authority then reversed the initial resolution and instead awarded the claims to everyone who had applied imploring that they share portions within the area.
In February, the audit committee resolved to summon, Ald Moyo, Mr Dube and the chamber secretary to a special sitting of the committee so as to shed more light on the allegations made by AAG.
According to a council confidential report, the town clerk, while acknowledging that Ald Moyo had prematurely penned the letter noted that he had made it clear to the former Mayor that the letter was just to support his application for a mining grant and would not work without the council resolution.
“I am a target. I was a target then of certain councillors. They had money, they wanted to get me one way or the other. In fact, these are the people who were actually pushing me to move (and) allow (Councillor Felix) Mhaka to take his place and I was saying no . . . in fact the person who was the applicant happens to be a member of their party (MDC-Alliance) hence I was being coerced to say leave this for our comrade. When it comes to the application, I had got the co-ordinates. I was only taking what I applied for but because of pressure I had to give in because I didn’t want any further pressure,” said Mr Dube.
The town clerk, in his submissions further claimed that council could not crucify him for omitting to inform council on the existence of the letter as in many cases the town clerk in consultation with the mayor can make and pass certain decisions.
“There was no prejudice to any individual and to council. Eventually this matter was resolved, and of course, there was this complaint that came from AAG. In my view this was a complaint which had been overtaken by events because council had decided on this issue. I know people would raise issues to say I know regulations and procedures, why did I take a position.
“Yes, the town clerk in consultation with the mayor can make a decision then they report back to council. The fact that we did not report to council was an omission. How can I surely be crucified for such a small omission, I am saying as an audit committee, because this issue had been resolved before, you can just condone it because it was legitimate,” said Mr Dube.
Responding to enquiries from the audit committee, former mayor, Ald Moyo acknowledged that he had jumped the gun in writing the letter for the town clerk saying that this had been an oversight on his part.
“I did not think much about it but now, in retrospect, perhaps that was wrong. I should not have done it and I have nothing to say except that
I am sorry if it really did prejudice council in anyway. I hope council will take my apology for writing this letter before council had sat, but it was an innocent, harmless letter meant merely to facilitate the process.
“My assumption was that since the town lands and planning committee had approved it, council would not have had a problem with the approval. Council went on to approve the application as anticipated, but of cause the mistake was there in terms of procedure. The procedure was wrong, we should have been patient and waited for council to sit,” said Ald Moyo.
According to a council report a total of 33 applicants expressed interest in taking up the claims within two council farms — Aisleby and Goodhope — of which just 19 were responsive, with the list being later reduced to eight. The issue raised dust a couple of years ago when Mr Dube was barred from taking up the gold claim by councillors saying the mining should benefit the city and not an individual. The councillors suggested the mine should be advertised through the invitation of interested parties to bid for the project. The local authority is on record saying mining is not council’s core activity, but its main role is to provide an enabling environment for business, including mines to thrive, hence they were not going to take up mining as a possible venture.