MASHONALAND East Provincial Affairs minister, Ambrose Mutinhiri, has set himself on a collision course with Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere after he reportedly ordered Marondera Town Council to stop administering residential stands at Elmswood Farm and hand them over to the rural district council.
By Jairos Saunyama
Last year, Kasukuwere doled out thousands of stands at the farm to Marondera town youths to campaign for Zanu PF Marondera Central candidate, Lawrence Katsiru. After Katsiru’s victory, he gave council the greenlight to develop the housing project after thousands of people paid $511 each to Marondera Town Council for the stands.
Marondera town clerk, Josiah Musuwo told a full council meeting last week that Mutinhiri had directed the local authority to hand over the housing project to the rural district council.
“We received three letters from the minister of State telling us to hand over the Elmswood project to Marondera Rural District Council (RDC). We have been told to hand over the waiting list as well as transfer all the money paid by the homeseekers to the rural district council. The RDC has been given the mandate to run Elmswood,” he said.
The matter generated heated debate, as councillors from both Zanu PF and MDC-T expressed anger at Mutinhiri’s decision. The councillors vowed to defy the decision.
Contributing to the same debate, Ward 7 councillor, Dominic Matangira (MDC-T) said the decision should be ignored.
“Let us ignore that. We have a Local Government minister giving the nod for council to use the land, and we now have another one saying the land is not yours. Rural councils are meant to develop growth points,” he said.
Ward 8 councillor, Rodwell Makoni (Zanu PF) blasted the local authority for taking long to develop the area and allocate stands.
“The minister (Mutinhiri) is right. The local authority was delaying the whole process, we were given the land a long time ago. How do you expect ZimAsset to be successful? The other time land was unveiled at Timbaland and up to now it is still idle. Let Elmswood go, you need to deal with the spirit of delay,” he said.
This comes amid reports that the local authority has already exhausted the money paid by residents towards purchase of the stands.