By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO residents have piled pressure on mayor Solomon Mguni and town clerk Christopher Dube demanding that they declare their assets following reports that they were recently clandestinely awarded commercial stands as part of their benefits.
This comes two years after central government adopted an assets declaration policy with only two out of the 29 councillors — Rodney Jele of Nkulumane and Arnold Batirai of Nketa — complying with the order.
Council recently allocated Dube a commercial stand measuring 24 407 hectares in Selbourne Park.
According to council minutes, the stand is located adjacent to another piece of land offered to him by the local authority as part of his service perks.
Mguni has also courted controversy following revelations that he was offered to lease a 2,5-hectare agricultural plot in Lower Rangemore by council for a paltry $165 per month for 25 years.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) expressed concern at the “noticeable trend (of) the town clerk and mayor doing each other favours”.
“To us, this comes across as criminal abuse of office as defined in section 174 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23,” BPRA co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said in a letter dated September 4 addressed to the council’s town, lands and planning committee.
The letter was copied to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
“We are calling on the mayor and town clerk to declare what they already own in assets in line with the declaration of assets and interest policy adopted by the council some time ago in keeping with section 198 of the Constitution. Moreover, we are calling for the publication of the BCC [Bulawayo City Council] expansion plans for public scrutiny,” Ndlovu wrote.
“It is our hope that the committee shall rectify the issue and respond to these concerns that have the potential to erode public trust in council processes.”
“The value of the land in question is not stated; if ever this happens to be true then we are very disturbed and concerned with this growing trend of council officials being given land when more than 121 000 residents remain on the housing waiting list with no prospects of receiving land,” he said.