In downright disregard of council bylaws, a Councillor from Gweru who has been calling for the ouster of his perceived enemies amid a damaging land scandal rocking the local authority, reportedly bought two stands for his children- one aged five while the other is a 13-day old juvenile.

This emerged following the implication of more Gweru city council bosses in a municipal land selling scam brought to the surface by the release of a forensic audit report which also exposed an alleged fuel looting scandal involving the acting town clerk and top management.

It has since emerged that Ward 4 Councilor Charles Chirau is now under the spotlight amid revelations that he purchased two residential stands in Senga Infill for his two children albeit the fact that the juvenile pair has no contractual capacity according to council bylaws.

In essence, contractual capacity refers to the legal capability to form a binding contract.

But regardless of this anomaly, Cllr Chirau defended the procurement and also fingered various other council bosses of having done the same.

Cllr Chirau allegedly bought stands number 6835 Senga Infill and 6841 Senga under his children Leon Munashe, who was 13 days old on the day of purchase and Shaun who was five.

In turn, Cllr Chirau confirmed purchasing the residential stands in question, while exposing high ranking officials who also bought stands for their children and relatives during the stands looting spree.

“My children did buy those stands. If the law does not allow juveniles to purchase stands, the council must not have accepted the money. It is not my fault it is the fault of the people who receipted the money,” he told the state media.

“I am not the only one who did so. For instance, one of the stands I bought for my children is 6835 in Senga and number 6832 was bought by (former housing Director) Mrs Jani’s child who is also underage, (former Town Clerk) Daniel Matawu also gave stands to his children. So, it is not only me,” Chirau said.

City council Director of Housing and Community Services, Shingirai Tigere who was not yet at Town House when the alleged stands looting spree took place, said ideally, the council advertises stands, with those on the housing waiting list being given first priority.

“Procedurally the acquisition of a residential stand is that the engineering department surveys the land that is fit for that purpose, calculate the costs and handover the stands to the housing department which also includes tax and administrative fees to the cost of the stand,” he said.

“Then the local authority is supposed to advertise the stands and conducts interviews with the people shortlisted on the waiting list to see if they have the capacity to take up the offer,” said Tigere.

Mayor Josiah Makombe has, however, promised to look into the matter once he is furnished with the ‘full details’.

With Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Larry Mavima expressing dismay at the alleged corrupt tendencies of municipal officials, corruption watchdog, Zacc, has since been invited to investigate the corruption at Gweru city council.

According to Mavima, the controversy-ridden council has now become ‘a major problem area whose current environment is characterised by chaos, conflict, divisions and general mismanagement’.

“However, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works is currently seized with the matter and investigations have been carried out and subsequent measures to implement recommendations are underway. Accordingly, you will be advised on progress made on the matter,” Minister Mavima said.

The local authority has been hit by suspensions, and one notable suspension has been that of Town Clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza.

state media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews