Zanu PF activist defends illegal stands allocation

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A ZANU PF activist has defended his illegal allocation of council land to churches in Dzivarasekwa suburb, saying the move had helped avert possible outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, which have wreaked havoc in the area in the past.

by Christopher Mahove

Michael Kuimba, who last year parcelled out open spaces to scores of church organisations in Dzivarasekwa without council approval, said the churches were helping the local authority to deal with uncollected garbage that had become a menace in most high-density areas.

He said instead, council should take advantage of his initiative and boost its revenue base by collecting levies from the churches which he allocated stands.

“Council complains that there is no money, but the money is there in the communities. I am sure you realise that this year, we have not had any problems of typhoid or cholera which were in the previous years caused by the dumping of rubbish at undesignated points in the neighbourhood. It is because we said why not give churches land on these open spaces being used as dumpsites so that this dumping is stopped?” Kuimba said.

Kuimba said he had also helped the community by bringing the churches closer to the people where they paid much less than what they were being charged by government schools and council when they operated from private homes.

“Churches were conducting services in schools and at private houses. Council was charging them almost $126 for a church shed at a private property, while schools charged $50 per classroom. Our nation is a Christian nation and it is difficult for children and others to know of a church service being held at a school or at a private house somewhere. So in a way, I have helped the community by getting them closer to the church,” he said.

Kuimba said the 184 churches that benefited from his “benevolence” were also ploughing back into the community by conducting regular clean-up campaigns to keep the area tidy.

He said the churches were also carrying out other community-based projects such as the electrification of Dzivarasekwa Police Station and the renovation of council offices.

However, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said what Kuimba was doing was against council by-laws and he faced arrest.

“What he is doing is illegal. We don’t allow individuals to give out land. Anybody doing that is doing it at his own risk and the long arm of the law will soon catch up with him,” Chideme said.