Seven Chitungwiza councillors, including the deputy mayor, implicated in the town’s land saga have been suspended from the troubled local authority.
Acting town clerk Fungai Mbetsa yesterday confirmed the suspension of seven councillors, Jacob Rukweza, Boniface Manyonganise, Brighton Mazhindu, Lorraine Usaiwevhu, Rangarirai Mutingwende (deputy mayor), Obert Muchawaya and Ernest Muridzi.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo could not immediately confirm the suspensions saying he was in Tsholotsho, referring questions to officials at his office.
The councillors were suspended for their involvement in scandalous land deals and illegal change of land use in their wards and were named in a 31-page report compiled by a special committee set up by Chombo in February.
Mbetsa said he had been informed of the suspension of the councillors, but was yet to see the letters of suspension.
One of the councillors yesterday said he was yet to get the letter of suspension.
Residents who spoke to NewsDay welcomed the move to suspend the councillors, but said that it had come a bit too late.
Chombo’s deputy Sesel Zvidzai said the suspensions were long overdue and Chitungwiza would never be the same again.
“We told them a long time ago. To me it’s not news because we had fired those people and had they listened to our wisdom, Chitungwiza would be a better place,” said Zvidzai.
The MDC-T in 2010 fired all Chitungwiza councillors, a decision that was, however, turned down by Chombo who was quick to reinstate them.
It emerged in the report that more than 2 200 residents were allocated stands which were irregularly converted from other uses.
Council officials, some of whom have been arrested and are presently on bail, are accused of allocating stands in a corrupt and chaotic manner, resulting in residential stands being doled out on land meant for construction of schools, roads and crèches.
As a result, most of the councillors in Chitungwiza have had the proverbial rags to riches rise with a number now driving top-of-the range cars.
Councillors and senior managers have been implicated in the biggest land scam to hit the municipality.
Among those implicated in the land saga are ousted town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa and former housing director Jemina Gumbo.