Some Gweru City councillors came under spotlight after they attempted to evade city bylaws to allow one member of the community to ‘get away with murder’ after planting maize in a council soccer filed in Lundi Park.
This came out at a full council meeting that was held on Thursday last week.
Debate ensued in the council chambers after some of the councillors wanted one Gweru resident from Lundi Park, who invaded a soccer field, that had just been graded and prepared by the local authority, and turned it into a maize field to be left off the hook.
City bylaws stipulate that crops planted in undesignated areas should be slashed.
Led by ward 3 Councilor Martin Chivhoko, the councillors sympathized with the individual, who was not named, pleaded with fellow councillors to let the field invader harvest his crop.
“The concerned person came to see me and apologized and said next time he won’t do it again. Let’s allow him to harvest his crop as he promised he won’t do it again,” councillor Chivhoko said.
Ward 14 Councillor Ndava concurred with Chivhoko saying the individual should be forgiven, supported by the Mayor, councillor Josiah Makombe, who said on humanitarian grounds council should not slash the crop but have the perpetrator write an apology letter to council, before making a u-turn after some councillors raised concern over the issue.
“On humanitarian grounds it is prudent to give him a chance, he should write a letter of apology as the individual lacks respect for council,” Makombe said.
Councillor Chinene and Albert Chirau however opposed the idea of forgiveness and said the individual should be brought to book and council should adhere to city by laws as lenience may cause chaos in the city.
“I do believe the city has bylaws and the bylaws are there to correct such issues, this means there is a department here that is not doing it’s job,” councillor Chirau said.
“We can’t work like that, council had expenses using earth moving equipment to clear that ground and the individual should be penalized if he is known.
“We should follow bylaws because if we allow this, others will do it and sight this guy that he was given a chance so if we let this happen we will be challenged later,” said councillor Chinene.
Ultimately Mayor Chikozho said the crop should be slashed as the idea of letting the individual harvest his crop had been opposed.
“Some councillors have opposed the idea of letting this go, we have bylaws so we have to follow the bylaws and have the crop slashed as the law says,” Mayor Makombe said.