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Home | General | ZANUPF councillor in looting scandal

ZANUPF councillor in looting scandal

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The current Mashonaland Central governor and Zanu PF apologist, Martin Dinha was involved in massive looting of council property after the defeat of his party in council elections by the MDC in March 2008, investigations carried out by the MDC – led Bindura Town Council have revealed.

In an interview with The Changing Times this week, Bindura mayor, Daniso Wakatama, said it was shocking that Dinha, who was then the outgoing Bindura mayor, could engage in such rampant looting of council property at the expense of service delivery to the people. “Dinha and other Zanu PF councillors were involved in massive looting and illegal auctioning of council property in 2008.

“There was virtually no service delivery to talk of when we went into office as the operations at the council had literally collapsed, all vehicles left behind were grounded and council run enterprises had closed. The council was in the red and this put us in a very difficult situation in our bid to resuscitate service delivery,” said Mayor Wakatama. Investigations by the council have shown that the mayoral house,which was occupied by Dinha was sold to him for a shocking amount of less about US$48.

A council pre-school was also sold to a former Zanu PF councillor only identified as Chitumba under as yet unclear circumstance. Chitumba is now sub-letting the pre-school, which has left the residents of Bindura shocked by the level of corruption that was being practised by Zanu PF in the town. “But as council we will soon conduct a special audit to identify all assets that were looted by Zanu PF officials and will definitely recover them,” promised Mayor Wakatama.

Mayor Wakatama also said Zimbabwe National Water Supply Authority (Zinwa) was also involved in massive asset stripping just before they handed back the control of water supply to the council.

“All water pumps were vandalised at our water works, a brand new tractor and two motor cycles disappeared and up to now nothing has been recovered,” he said. However, he said despite this rampant abuse of power by the former Zanu PF councillors, the Bindura Town Council remained resolute in making sure that better service delivery was restored to all residents and businesses. Two council clinics have been restocked after the council sourced seven tonnes of medical supplies from the Embassy of Iran last December.

“The council has also managed to acquire two utility vehicles for the works’ department and an ambulance as people had resorted to hiring private cars at a high cost whenever they needed ambulance services for urgent treatment at the hospital or clinic,” he said. On the issue of sewer reticulation, Mayor Wakatama said;

“We have partnered with the United Nations Children and Education Fund (Unicef) who are providing technical support to revamp the entire sewer reticulation system as the old infrastructure had virtually collapsed due to the increase in population in the town.

Bindura has a population of about 150 000 people. “So far we have received sewer rods and protective clothing for the sewer department from Unicef. We also have in stock, six months supply of water treatment chemicals,” he said. On social housing, Mayor Wakatama said the council had joined hands with a non-governmental organisation, Zimbabwe Homeless Federation, to build low income houses for the poor. “I urge all residents with no stands, to register with the council so that they can benefit from the scheme. Land for the scheme has already been identified,” he said.

Turning to investment opportunities, the mayor said Bindura was now ripe for any business opportunities and investors should take advantage as the city had on offer 1, 3 hectares of prime land in the Central Business District. “The process of applying for commercial and industrial stands is hassle free,” he assured investors. He promised flea market traders who had been neglected for a long time they would soon be allocated to a new place whose construction is nearly finished
in town.

The traders had been displaced under the Zanu PF led Operation Murambatsvina, which saw thousands of Zimbabweans homeless and businesses destroyed. However, the mayor said council was owed nearly US$1, 7 million by the residents and businesses but the main defaulters were government departments and this had at times seen the council failing to pay its employees on time as revenue collected could not meet the salaries bill. “But we have engaged the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Sesel Zvidzai with a list of government departments that owe the council so as that he can assist in recovering the money,” he said.

Bindura, the provincial capital for Mashonaland Central province, attained its town status in 1999 and has four residential suburbs, with Chipadze being the oldest. It is mainly a predominantly mining town with two of the biggest mines in the country; Ashanti Goldfields and Trojan Nickel mine.The council also manages three schools, Chipindura and Chipadze primary and secondary schools.The town is run by 12 councillors all from MDC and three special interest councillors from Zanu PF appointed by Ignatius Chombo, despite their defeat in the 2008 elections.

However, since going into office in 2008, the councillors have been a target of Zanu PF and police crackdown on various trumped-up charges.“On 29 March this year, we had to postpone a special full council meeting because four of our councillors had been arrested on spurious charges of undermining Zanu PF’s First Secretary, Robert Mugabe,” he said. Mayor Wakatama also spent some time in remand prison after he was arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Perrence Shiri.

He was acquitted after the State had failed to prove its case However, Mayor Wakatama vowed that despite the attempts by Zanu PF and other State agents in frustrating their work in council,the councillors would continue serving the people. “We were elected by the people of Bindura to serve them and we will continue doing that despite the harassment and arrests we are getting. Zanu PF should know that this is no longer its strong territory as they thought before but that this town is predominantly MDC.

“But we will continue to see that service delivery is brought to the people regardless of their political affiliation,” said Mayor Wakatama.

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