Movement for Democratic Change Shadow Minister for Local Government Eddie Cross says more than 500 000 homes in Harare are on land that was illegally allocated by land barons on a political and patronage basis.
Cross said in Masvingo some 13 000 stands are being sold by land barons at $4 000 each, and this sprawling settlement is going to be bigger than the existing Masvingo town which has 11 000 stands.
He told this to Parliament in response to Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s statement on why he had fired the entire Chitungwiza council.
Kasukuwere fired all the 25 councilors including those from his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and replaced them with a three-member commission.
Cross argued that firing the councilors on mere allegations was not the answer to Chitungwiza’s problems because the same crisis existed in Harare, Masvingo and even Gweru.
“I do not think that firing the City Council is the solution,” Cross argued.
“We had a situation in Gweru where the Minister suspended the Gweru City Council and put in a Commission.
“The Commission awarded themselves contracts – I have the facts related to that.
“The Commission earned substantially more in allowances than the entire council would have earned during their duration.”
Cross argued that the conditions under which councillors, as elected people, can be suspended or dismissed are the same as those of Members of Parliament.
“You cannot dismiss a councillor or suspend them on the basis of an allegation,” Cross said.
“You recall Mr. Speaker, when Hon. Kereke was accused of a crime, he sat in this House for many months, participating as a full member of the House despite the fact that he was in court and being charged.
“It was only after his conviction of a criminal act that he was dismissed from the House.
“I do not believe that the procedure that the Minister is following is the right procedure in terms of the national interest.
“If he is satisfied that there are allegations against councillors then I personally support him with respect to allegations against 13 of the individuals concerned and not the others, including every single one of the ZANU-PF councillors who have been involved in land deals.
Continued next page