Minister of Local Government and Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere has suspended 25 Chitungwiza municipality councilors including the Mayor, Councillor Phillip Mutoti on allegations of corruption.
By Shorai Murwira and Philemon Jambaya
Kasukuwere who visited Chitungwiza on Thursday wielded the axe on Mutoti and his councilors giving them seven days to respond to allegations of corruption levelled against them.
A 2016 internal audit in the hands of 263Chat revealed that council officials and the Mayor parceled out stands to their close relatives including Mutoti’s four year old son.
The audit report further revealed that Councilors and Council Staff were identifying undeveloped stands and submitting them to Council for verification before allocating themselves and their close allies.
A source told 263chat said a caucus meeting was held by councilors on Wednesday night to try and block Kasukuwere’s visit.
“A meeting was held last night by all councilors from Zanu PF and MDC in a bid to block the visit by Hon Kasukuwere,” said the source.
Efforts to speak to Councilor Mutoti proved fruitless as he was not picking his mobile phone with sources close to him saying that he was driving from the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) after being summoned back by Kasukuwere.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) Marvelous Khumalo applauded Kasukuwere’s move saying all acts of corruption must be condemned.
“As CHITREST we have always condemned corruption with all strongest terms, last year we wrote to Parliament, Senate and ZACC to investigate corruption within the City of Chitungwiza,”said Khumalo.
However Khumalo said while they applaud the move, Kasukuwere was also abusing his powers by suspending elected officials.
“We however query the decision by the Minister to take all his time in addressing this issue and as residents we also query the way he used to suspend elected officials while he is forgetting that he is also an elected official from his constituency,” said Khumalo.
Efforts to reach Kasukuwere proved fruitless as his went unanswered.
Meanwhile Kasukuwere has appointed a commission led Madzudzo Pawadyira to run the affairs of the dormitory town.
MDC-T Spokesperson Obert Gutu said as a party they were deeply concerned and indeed, worried by the Minister of Local Government action of suspending our councilors without following due process.
“We hasten to emphasise that as a political party, the MDC has got a zero tolerance policy to all forms of corruption.
“That said, we strenuously condemn and denounce the unilateral and punitive decision of punishing anyone accused of corruption before following due process.
“Our councillors should be accorded the opportunity to fully present their side of the story lest we will justifiably conclude that they have been politically victimised by the Minister,” said Gutu.