Byo Town Clerk Grabs For Himself Land Big Enough To Set Up A High Density Suburb
4 September 2020
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BULAWAYO – Bulawayo residents have reacted with anger after town clerk Christopher Dube was offered a stand measuring 24,407 square meters as part of his new four-year contract with the local authority.

The stand, in the upmarket neighbourhood of Selbourne Park, is so big it is the size of 122 average stands in the working-class suburb of Cowdray Park.

Dube proposed the stand as one of his conditions of service after the MDC Alliance-run council agreed to a contract extension for his second and final term.

The matter was discussed by the council’s General Purpose Committee chaired by mayor Solomon Mguni which acceded to his demands, including giving him an Isuzu twin cab which is currently being used in the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) due to conclude next year.

Dube previously got a stand (Stand No. 14662) of an unknown size adjacent to the land he is eyeing when he took over in 2016.

Councillors have deferred discussing Dube’s conditions of service to a later date “to digest the matter”, according to an extract of minutes of a meeting of councillors held on August 5, but released on Thursday.

Bulawayo currently has a housing waiting list of more than 121,000.

“This is scandalous. Currently we have water problems and the housing waiting list is ballooning. Instead of them working on servicing residents, they are busy looting. The mayor can’t be relied upon to bring sanity because he is also defending his loot,” fumed the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu.

He added: “Just like in the case of the mayor’s land, the process might have satisfied all internal requirements (which is the excuse that they will probably give) it’s still wrong and falls far short. BCC has degenerated into an elitist, self-serving institution.”

In May, the local authority sparked outrage when it offered Mguni a 25-year lease for 3.5 hectares of agricultural land in Lower Rangemore at Z$165 per month.

Writing to the mayor Mguni on September 1, Dube appeared eager to have his terms accepted and contract signed.

“It will be noted that the Town Clerk’s current contract of employment expires at the end of this month. A renewed or roll-over contract has to be completed, signed and sent to the Local Government Board during the course of this month,” Dube wrote.

He then resubmitted the report of the council’s General Purpose Committee, the same document which came up for discussion at the August 5 full council meeting which ended without resolution.

Dube survived ouster in July last year after some councillors took advantage of the mayor’s absence and passed a no-confidence vote in him.

The councillors led by then deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami accused Dube of failing to manage the water crisis in Bulawayo through effective management of repairs and maintenance works.

He was also accused of misappropriating the ward retention fund and paying some contractors in advance without council approval.

Dube, the councillors further said, had violated council procedures when he was awarded an offer letter to mine gold at the Good Hope/Aisleby Farms in 2017.

Dube was restored, however, and Kambarami arrested after the Town Clerk, a former soldier, reported him for assault. The deputy mayor was convicted by a magistrate, but the High Court later quashed the conviction.