Land for cronies, party activists, girlfriends at Harare City Council

Harare town clerk Hosiah Chisango

HARARE City Council managers and MDC councillors used their positions to allocate stands to suspected  lovers and blocked Zanu PF linked people from accessing residential stands, documents reveal.

This comes as the rot at Town House has reached unprecedented levels with council officials and councillors embarking on massive accumulation of wealth at the expense of service delivery.

Several officials, including former acting director of housing and human resources director Matthew Marara and former Harare mayor Herbert Gomba are currently on remand awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Documents show that vast pieces of land were sold for a song to companies linked to council officials who later resold them in foreign currency.

Harare town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango is said to have used his position to allocate residential stands to two acquaintances, Melissa Kadiyo and Sarudzai Kamoyo, who were not on the housing waiting list.

Chisango wrote a letter on March 27 this year to suspended housing director Engineer Addmore Nhekairo instructing him to allocate residential stands to the pair.

“Pursuant to our verbal discussions in my office, I write to reiterate my instruction to allocate the above mentioned residential stands in any low density suburb.”

Eng Nhekairo subsequently allocated the two women residential stands in Bluff Hill.

“Please be advised that you have been selected for the offer of stand number 3316,” read in part a letter that was written by Eng Nhekairo.

The stands, that take ordinary persons almost a lifetime to get, were sold in local currency.

According to WhatsApp messages between the two council managers, those connected to the town clerk were allocated stands next to each other.

Councillor Luckson Makunguma, council’s finance committee chair, is also alleged to have used his position to allocate stands to female associates and to change land use in connivance with council workers.

In a letter dated March 12, 2015, to the director of corporate services, the MDC councillor wrote: “I hereby write this letter giving instructions on the allocation of stands on the attached draft layout plan awaiting approval by the city planner and local councillor. I direct that the stands be allocated to Blue Star Housing Pay Scheme instead of the invading Vision Ladies Housing Cooperative,” read the letter in part.

This is despite the fact that Vision Ladies, which was formed in 2013, had made an application for the land to the former director of corporate services, Josephine Ncube

On August 9 2018, Vision Ladies Housing Cooperative, through its project coordinator, Moffat Siwizani, wrote a letter to Nhekairo appealing for the cancellation of the offer letter to Blue Star.

Part of the letter read: “We suspect that the offer letter (to Blue Star) was fraudulently issued. Blue Star Housing Cooperative was told to bring council resolutions but until now, they have not forwarded the council resolutions for

them to pay for the land.

“We hereby call upon your respectable office to carry out investigations and bring to book the culprits who are after tarnishing the good image of local authority,” said Siwizani in the letter.

Marara, who is on bail pending trial on corruption charges, is accused of illegally allocating 20 stands to Blue Star Housing Cooporative.

“Kindly be advised that council allocated 20 unserviced residential stands to Blue Star Housing Pay Scheme under employer-assisted housing pay schemes. Blue Star Housing Pay Scheme is under the leadership of one Mr Jackson Makarichi and Mr Gerald Zumbika.

“Kindly assist them in facilitating the implementation of the requisite infrastructural services falling within your purview,” reads part of a letter Marara wrote to Harare’s works department .

The MDC is said to have used its control of council to accumulate resources in preparation for elections.

In a letter to the chairperson of the Health Education, Housing, Community Services and Licensing Committee on August 2, 2017, Mukunguma admonished his fellow councillor Regis Masunda, for allocating stands to Probation Infill Housing Scheme in ward 25.

“I have it on good record that the said housing scheme is led by senior Zanu PF official Moffat Siwizani and that Probation Housing Scheme was previously called Vision Ladies, an outfit then led by one Haruwandi Munyawiri, again a senior Zanu PF official. That being so, it appears you are working in cahoots with Zanu PF to undermine our party agenda and electoral gains.

“It boggles the mind why a fellow party member would devote his energies derailing the revolutionary cause of our party, the MDC. Although I acknowledge that Probation Infill Housing Scheme invaded the land in 2014, I implore you to urgently withdraw recommendations you made on August 29, 2017, which resulted in Probation Infill Paying Housing Scheme benefiting from your dereliction of duty. Should you fail to withdraw the said recommendations, I have no option other than fuelling your disqualification from standing as a councillor for your current ward or any political office in harmonised elections under MDC ticket.”

Some council officials are said to have been hounded out of council on the basis that they were suspected of being anti-MDC. – Herald