PSC, Bikita RDC row over land

Source: PSC, Bikita RDC row over land | Newsday (News)

BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

BIKITA Rural District Council (RDC) is again in the eye of storm after it allegedly encroached into land belonging to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and turned it into residential stands.

The land was reportedly doled to Zanu PF youths to pacify them after they recently stormed council offices in protest over their land which was illegally sold to local business people.

The PSC has since written to Local Government ministry secretary Zvinechimwe Churu objecting to council’s move.

According to the letter by PSC secretary Jonathan Wutawunashe, dated April 14 2021, the land was earmarked for the establishment of a Public Service Commission Academy.

“Your attention is being drawn to the Bikita Training Institute stand which is being parcelled out by Bikita RDC.

“This started in 1995 when Bikita RDC gave a portion of the Training Centre land to a private company (Milling Plant).

“Communications were made in that regard and the commission never consented to the allocation,” the letter read.

“As you are aware, the commission is in the process of transforming the Training and Development Architecture into a fully-fledged Public Services Commission Academy.

“This entails transforming all existing Public Service Training Institutes through construction of state-of-art infrastructure, installation of e-learning facilities and a general facelift.

“In this regard, land use plan for Bikita Training Institute is already in place.

“The proposed allocation of part of Bikita Training Institute is objected,” Wutawunashe wrote.

The Zanu PF youths accused council employees of engaging in shady land deals and have been demanding the re-opening of Mbuya Nehanda Primary School after parents withdrew their children over a messy land dispute last year.

This was after the local authority started pegging shop stands around the premises and constructing a beerhall in the school yard.

Bikita RDC executives were accused of slashing the school land from 12,5 hectares to 7,5 hectares and parcelling out the five hectares to friends and relatives.

The youths were also accusing council of downsizing the District Heroes Acre and repossessing land belonging to the Zanu PF women’s league.

Bikita RDC has on several times been dragged to court over land issues and one resident, Hlanganipani Muchinani, has since written to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) demanding investigations into the land allocations.

Bikita RDC Chief executive officer, Peter Chibi said he was not aware of the PSC letter.

“I have been out of office for a week,” he said.

“I have to check with my subordinates whether there is receipt of the letter and get back to you. As for the alleged land dispute between the RDC and PSC, I have to check the local authority plan and see if such land exists.”

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