Commissioners appointed to head the City of Gweru by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere are gobbling $1 000 a day in fees and allowances, Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai Secretary for Local Government Eddie Cross said today.
In a statement in which he called on Kasukuwere to leave councils alone, Cross said the commissioners were also illegally appointing senior staff on a partisan basis.
“In addition, a company controlled by a relative of member of the Commission has been awarded a contract to conduct an ‘audit’ of water supplies without due process,” Cross said.
The Bulawayo South legislator said Kasukuwere was flagrantly violating the country’s constitution by dismissing councils and appointing partisan commissions.
“These flagrant violations of the fundamental principles of the new constitution are extremely serious. The attempt by the minister to get an amendment to the Urban Councils Act and the Rural Districts Councils Act, which will restore his right to interfere in elected councils affairs in the same way as before, is not an effort to ‘align’ these Acts with the new constitution. Instead they constitute a deliberate effort to subvert the new constitution.
“In regard to the drive to settle hundreds of thousands of people in urban areas using politically aligned housing cooperatives, this is reaching new heights. In Harare, on 8 commercial farms acquired during the fast track farm reform programme, have been used to settle over 1000 housing cooperatives, all of which, are directly linked to ZANU-PF. The nearly 200 000 families settled in these farms have paid for their stands and up to $20 a square metre has been charged.”
Cross said all settled families are required to join ZANU-PF and are recorded on registers that are used to monitor attendance at Party meetings.
“All are carefully monitored and any links to MDC are immediately rewarded with expulsion and even the destruction of any shelters build on the stands. All such areas are then incorporated, illegally, into neighboring urban wards and constituencies and special polling stations set up during elections,” he said.
“Any polling station delivering a MDC candidate is then targeted for destruction of housing in the subsequent period. It was in this way that areas of informal housing were targeted by the ministry in both Ruwa and Chitungwiza Urban Councils in 2013.”
Cross said all urban areas were being subjected to this effort to influence elections.
“In Masvingo ZANU-PF has occupied a 6000 hectare property to the south of the city and is settling 13000 stands that are being “sold” to occupants at a total cost of $52 million. None of the families so settled has any tenure rights, the only record of payments being a receipt issued by hand by the financial beneficiary who has no responsibility to provide any services.
“In Harare City Council two such farms have been incorporated in the city for planning and servicing. The council has found that up to 250 000 people have been settled in these two farms without water, roads or sewerage facilities, no schools or clinics are planned and no recreation areas provided. The beneficiaries to whom these unlawfully settled families have paid money for the right to occupy their stands, have vanished.
“This rampant abuse of the absolute poor in urban areas is being extended to attempts by the ZANU-PF party to exercise their control over the informal sector. In this way a criminal mafia has been established in Mbare where the informal sector markets and bus depots are being controlled by these gangs and money is extorted for the right to occupy vending stands or small plots for industrial activity.
“Senior members of the ZANU-PF Party are linked to these activities and use these same structures to enforce compliance with voting activity and the operation of political activity and structures in these areas.”
These wholesale abuses of the rights and needs of the citizens of the urban councils have only one objective and that is to restore control by ZANU-PF of all urban wards and constituencies in the next elections.
“In the process the ZANU-PF is making life even more difficult and worse for the great majority or the urban population and all of this activity is not only illegal but fundamentally abuses the edicts of the new Constitution that was won after so many years of struggle,” Cross said.
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