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MDC-T councilors have climbed down on their recent approval to construct a ZW25 million luxurious mansion for the city’s Mayor Solomon Nguni at Selbourne Park following a public outcry over the move.
According to a recent council confidential report, the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T dominated Bulawayo City Council recommended the local authority should build Mguni a new house on a stand owned by the council in the flourishing low-density suburb.
The mayor currently stays in Nkulumane high-density suburb.
At first, the city fathers had proposed to renovate one of the council’s properties at the Hornung Gold Club while the other option was to buy the mayor an upmarket property.
An interdepartmental committee set up by the councilors to explore the three options finally recommended the construction of a new house.
However, the decision attracted the wrath of residents, and the MDC Alliance by Nelson Chamisa has distanced itself from the project.
Following the residents’ outcry, the MDC-T made an embarrassing U-turn on the project.
“Under the item we had, three options: (1) the already existing resolution to renovate a council house at Hornung in Burnside at a cost of USD146 000, (2) purchase a house at a cost of US$200 000 for use by the current mayor and future mayors, (and) (3) build a house at an already reserved stand in Selbourne park when funds become available,” said Silas Chigora, the MDC-T council chief whip in a statement.
Despite the council’s resolution, Chigora claimed the council had only agreed to build the mayor a house in Selbourne Park subject to the availability of funds.
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“Cognisant of the current financial status of the city we resolved to pursue the long-standing position of building a mayoral house in Selbourne Park at the already reserved stand when funds become available at a cost yet to be quantified,” backtracked Chigora.
Bulawayo city fathers and management have been accused of engaging in corrupt activities.
Early this year, the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) launched a probe into the local authority’s operations following complaints by residents and other stakeholders over improper allocation of housing stands and flawed tender and procurement processes.
Mguni and council management were also quizzed by the ZACC.
The mayor was also controversially offered a plot in Rangemore for a paltry amount while the council also allegedly allocated the city’s town clerk Christopher Dube a commercial stand as part of his conditions of service.
Dube already has another stand next to the one he was set to be offered.