Central govt planning to hijack our projects: Bulawayo council

Bulawayo City Council

BULAWAYO city fathers are worried central government may hijack council projects for electioneering purposes on behalf of the ruling Zanu PF ahead of the August 23 elections.

The councillors cited government’s interest in the renovation and rehabilitation of the Mpopoma informal traders market popularly known as Espamperekeni.

Espamperekini is an entrepreneurial place which was destroyed by fire late last year.

Government has expressed interest to assist by refurbishing the area before handing it over to council.

“Once land was available, the central government would construct the factory shells and then hand them over to the council,” the minutes read.

According to latest council minutes, city fathers are worried that the project may be hijacked for political purposes.

 “The involvement of the central government in council affairs regarding small scale and medium entrepreneurs is concerning,” Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councilor, Arnold Batirai, said.

 “The issue of decongesting Espamprekini was a council matter and they should not get involved.”

Ward 5 councillor, Felix Mhaka, said funding from

devolution must be used in the rehabilitation of the Mpopoma informal traders market.

Town clerk Christopher Dube said there was nothing wrong with government taking over the project.

“There were similar projects where the central government had developed and handed over to the council, for example Barbourfields Stadium,” he said.

Recently, the Bulawayo City Council clashed with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, for undermining its authority by undertaking various projects such as road works in Cowdray Park constituency without seeking approval of the municipality .

Ncube is eyeing the constituency on a Zanu PF ticket.

The councillors said Ncube was committing a criminal offence by contravening provisions of the Roads Act by embarking on works without seeking permission and authority from the council.

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