EASTERN NEWS | Govt fails to pay heroes' funeral toilets bills

BULAWAYO - Generally you are supposed to be lonely when you are dead — but the late national heroes John Nkomo and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu are yet to find rest as the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is trying frantically to recover a combined $552 owed to them by government — for mobile toilets hired out during their funerals.

BCC billed government $138 for the mobile toilets supplied during Ndlovu’s funeral and $414 for the same facilities at Nkomo’s wake.

Former vice president Nkomo died in 2013 while Ndlovu, an educationist of note, breathed his last in 2015.

According to the latest council report, the city fathers revealed that it was embarrassing for the Zanu PF government to fail to pay such an amount, arguing the development blemished the status of the two late heroes.

Ward I Councillor, Mulandu Ncube, said the Public Works Department was to blame and had behaved in an “embarrassing” manner.

“The assumption was that this problem should not arise as all expenses should be met from the State funds voted for the State funerals concerned.

“Failure by the Public Works Department to pay this small amount for services rendered in this regard was not only embarrassing for the State, but quite demeaning of the hero statuses of the two sons of the soil,” Ncube said in the report.

To save the situation, Ncube suggested the debt be written off, a suggestion that was received with mixed feelings from fellow councillors.

While other councillors expressed dismay at the attitude displayed by the relevant authorities in the matter, others felt there was need for further engagement.

On the other hand, councillor Collet Moyo suggested that council engages the Ndlovu and Nkomo families over the outstanding bill.

However, the general purpose committee concurred with Ncube, recommending that the bill be written off.

 

 

Residents, town clerk clash over mining claims

Bulawayo residents have slammed council’s decision to award gold mining claims to town clerk Christopher Dube and a senior official in the Local Government ministry, arguing the move is blatant abuse of authority.

Curiously, the decision comes just a few months after Dube was blocked from taking up the claims by councillors who argued that they should benefit the city and not an individual. 

The residents — represented by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) — say the move is part of “a looting trend by councillors and local authority officials in Bulawayo”. 

But Dube has hit back, accusing the BPRA of being petty.   

“They (BPRA) should go wherever they want and challenge the decision. I am a resident of Bulawayo and a citizen of Zimbabwe so I equally deserve to get what other residents or citizens are getting. 

“By being a town clerk I don’t cease to be a resident of Bulawayo. Who said a town clerk should be poor, I also want to be rich just like anyone that is why I am investing in a project that is not only going to benefit me but develop the city as well. Remember, I am also creating employment opportunities,” Dube told the Daily News.  

“Just like any other resident I take opportunities whenever they present themselves. Besides, I applied for this and firstly I was turned down and finally I was accepted because I provided everything which was required by council through my company.

“Remember, I am a businessman and I am not going to be directly involved into mining I own a company and it’s the one that will be doing everything. 

“That’s the problem we find here, you prefer to have someone outside Bulawayo getting those claims than the people of Bulawayo themselves, that’s very bad,” added the town clerk. 

His company, Belmac Investments, was last week awarded mining claims located at Bulawayo City Council-owned Aisleby Farm. 

Mayor Martin Moyo, who also eyed the claims and had been shortlisted, lost out to the named senior official in the Local Government ministry, who jointly won the claims at council’s Good Hope Farm with one Mngane Ncube.

The developments raised residents’ eyebrows, who suspected them of being dodgy. 

“This is the continuation of a looting trend by councillors and local authority officials in Bulawayo that includes purchasing of a vehicle worth $118 000 for Moyo and purchases of tablets (gadgets) for councillors barely a year before the end of their term of office, despite evidence of huge shortfalls in service delivery in the city,” BPRA information manager, Zibusiso Dube, told the Daily News.

“It is an indication of the misplaced priorities at the council, which continues focusing on benefits and comforts for senior officials at the expense of service delivery and efficient operations of the local authority.”

Zibusiso Dube said the move to approve the town clerk’s application, let alone him submitting his application, was emblematic of the dearth of public integrity and ethics within the local governance fraternity in the city.  

According to the latest council report, 33 applicants expressed interest in taking up the claims at the two farms.  However, just 19 were responsive, with the list being reduced to the eight that were presented last week during a full council meeting. 

BPRA information manager further noted that approval of the applications raises questions on what measures are in place to prevent officials in local authorities from abusing their positions for personal enrichment.  

“It raises concerns on the rationale for the decision to approve the application.

“Was the approval based on potential benefits to the city of Bulawayo, or was it based on the simple reasoning that the applicant is the town clerk of Bulawayo?” he queried. 

The residents’ representative body warned that it will not take the matter lying. 

“It is BPRA’S contention that more effective conflict of interest and declaration of interest policies need to be put in place to avoid similar occurrences in future.

“In line with this, and in the interests of promoting public integrity and combating corruption in Zimbabwe, BPRA shall be engaging stakeholders and residents in Bulawayo to map a way forward for the city, and a massive resistance to this kind of unethical behaviour shall be instituted.”             

 

 

Bulawayo honours centenarians

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has approved an initiative to honour centenarians living here, describing the move as a noble one. 

Last month, the local authority announced the plan to honour the elderly who have reached 100 years and beyond, as part of celebrating long life and acknowledging their wisdom. 

Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, noted in the latest council minutes that the initiative received overwhelming support from all stakeholders.  

“This is a good idea. We once did something similar with former executive mayor Ndabeni Ncube and it was well received. 

“We could also use the councillors to assist in identifying the elderly in the wards, who are 100 years and above,” said BCC public relations head Nesisa Mpofu. 

Meanwhile, the community has been urged to submit names of such residents living in the city, who will be honoured on a day yet to be advised. 

It was also resolved that the initiative should not leave out inmates at Ekuphumuleni and Luveve Old People’s homes who are 100 years and above.

The initiative will form part of the city’s annual events calendar.  

 

 

Minister in shooting storm

HOME AFFAIRS deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni has been accused of shooting at a motorist he accused of smuggling unspecified goods from Botswana.

The motorist, Moses Mutsveru, alleges he was shot at by Mguni in Marula near Plumtree, last Thursday.

Mguni yesterday said he was unable to comment on the matter as he was attending the official opening of the fifth session of the eight Parliament of Zimbabwe.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Philani Ndebele, referred questions to national police spokesperson Charity Charamba, whose mobile was unreachable.

Mutsveru’s lawyer, Prince Butshe, however, confirmed the incident yesterday.

“I can confirm that my client Moses Mutsveru of Bulawayo has filed a complaint of attempted murder against Home Affairs deputy minister (Obedingwa) Mguni at Plumtree Police Station,” Butshe said.

“As I am speaking, I am at the police station in Plumtree and police are recording two statements, one for my client as a complainant and for Mguni...on the same matter,” he said.

Butshe, however, refused to give more details but police sources close to the incident yesterday told the Daily News that Mguni shot several bullets at Mutsveru’s Nissan Sunny while he was driving, with three bullets hitting the car.

Mutsveru escaped unhurt.

“The information we have is that Mustveru was driving along Marula road at around 4pm when he saw a vehicle behind flashing lights at him. He, however, did not stop but proceeded with the journey,” the source said.

Mutsveru reportedly panicked as the vehicle which was being driven by the deputy minister was in pursuit and sped off, which resulted in a high speed chase.

“In the chase, Mutsveru hit a farm pole but continued speeding and moments later, Mguni started firing shots at the vehicle.

“The chase continued for about 40 kilometres. Sensing danger, Mutsveru reportedly pulled off the road, abandoned the car and escaped into the bush,” the source said.

After that, Mguni reportedly went to Figtree Police Station where he made a report that he was chasing a smuggler.

 

 

Khaya Moyo bares it all

ZANU PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo has revealed his deep seated at encroachment into his role by some party bigwigs whom he accused of sending inflammatory messages which he blamed for the growing factionalism in the former liberation movement.

Khaya Moyo also warned party officials to ditch back-biting and peddling falsehoods to President Robert Mugabe — a culture he said was causing divisions in the party.

Addressing a Zanu PF commissariat workshop on voter registration here over last weekend, an angry Moyo accused party officials of usurping his role to speak on behalf of Zanu PF.

“Everybody in the party is now a spokesperson, can’t you see you are violating the constitution,” a miffed Khaya Moyo said.

“We have spokespersons in all party wings even at provincial level, so stop talking nonsense. There are people who should deal with that but let me warn you, when it comes to national issues please don’t tamper, I will deal with you.

“I am serious about this because it’s destroying us. There is a lot of rumour-mongering in the party, honestly what’s that? There is no direction,” added Khaya Moyo.

Khaya Moyo wasn’t done yet.

He reserved his harshest criticism for party officials he said were in the habit of spreading falsehoods and feeding Mugabe with lies.

“We were talking about it in the politburo. The president says he is tired of lies. Don’t go to the president when you don’t have facts because he is bound to make a decision on misinformation.

“Why do you tell lies? To get what? To achieve what?  If you have correct information go through the proper channels,” fumed Khaya Moyo.

He conceded that factionalism had reached alarming levels and warned senior officials pushing factional agendas that their actions were good as committing treason.

“No one owns people. The party has membership and everybody belongs to the party. Talking of this issue of factionalism, us the former Zapu cadres we had no faction, we found factions at Zanu PF. We are now being allocated, that so and so belongs to so and so.

“I feel factionalism is treason. We have a president then you have a faction, so that means you are also trying to be a president, that’s treason.

“We have said it several times and we can’t allow factionalism to continue when the leadership of these factions is known.

Why do you let them move around, they should be collected quickly. Factionalism is dangerous because as it is people are no longer greeting each other in the party,” Khaya Moyo said.

Zanu PF is being devoured by deadly factionalism which both party officials and political analysts blame on the burning succession issue.

The ruling party has been split into two distinct camps — with a faction of young Turks known as the Generation 40 — involved in a serious fight with Team Lacoste, a group backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe.

Mugabe has consistently refused to appoint a successor — deferring the matter to the Zanu PF extra ordinary congress which he argues has a constitutional mandate to do that whenever the party feels it needs a new leader.

This is in direct contrast to comments by his wife, Grace, who has been publicly urging him to anoint a successor.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, provincial affairs minister for Bulawayo Eunice Sandi-Moyo said real war veterans are those who belong to Zanu PF.

“You cannot and can never call yourself an ex-Zanla or Zipra if you are not in Zanu PF. There is nothing like that. In my government office, I get several requests from war veterans who do not belong to Zanu PF asking for all kinds of assistance but I turn down those requests.

“I don’t lie to them that this office represents war veterans that belong to Zanu PF and not any other,” Moyo said.

“Some come to my to office say ‘we are the Zipras we want to go and lay wreathes at the provincial heroes acre’. I have told them point blank that you ran away and joined Dumiso Dabengwa’s party. My office does not represent Dabengwa’s Zapu,” she added.

The former freedom fighters have split into different camps — with the larger section of the war veterans backing the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) — whose leadership was jettisoned from Zanu PF after a messy fallout with Mugabe.

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