KWEKWE — A top Zanu PF official, Owen “Mudha” Ncube is reportedly locked in a bitter wrangle with the local authority over ownership of a brickmaking plant in the city.
The fight threatened to take a nasty turn last week after Kwekwe City Council officials accused Ncube of politicising the matter. Ncube is Zanu PF’s Midlands provincial secretary for security and a self-confessed ally of Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Ncube claims he was given a lease to operate the plant under a private-public-partnership agreement by the then Zanu PF-dominated council in 2006. However, the current MDC-T-dominated council recently passed a resolution reversing the deal, arguing the initial arrangement was erroneously done.
Council works director Engineer John Mhike recently told full council they had repossessed the brickmaking plant and had already started moulding slabs for construction of a new bus terminus in Kwekwe.
“We are now using the plant following the full council resolution. All the slabs which we are using in the construction of the new bus rank are being moulded from there,” said Mhike. But Ncube yesterday maintained the deal was still on.
“I have a running lease, which still has 10 years on it and I will not be pushed out by sell-outs who served in the British South African Police Service who want to reverse the gains of independence — the essence of what we fought for. They leased out Simba Breweries to whites but they want to take the brickfields from a black businessperson because I am Zanu PF,” Ncube fumed.
Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa declined to comment over the latest stand-off saying he was away in Domboshava.
“At the moment, I am concentrating on my schoolwork and won’t be drawn into such battles,” said Tobaiwa.
Attempts to get a copy of the lease from both sides were in vain as council said they could not locate their copy while Ncube declined to produce his own copy, but insisted it was signed by former executive mayor Stanford Bonyongwe, town clerk Emmanuel Musara and former chamber secretary Edward Mapara.
Chamber secretary Lucia Mkandla said: “We have been looking for it (lease agreement), but we can’t find it, it was misplaced.”