The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is ‘eagerly’ awaiting for the probe team dispatched by the government to release its findings on alleged corruption taking place within the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
In July, a five-member technical team was tasked by Government to investigate developments leading to the then ‘unprocedural’ suspension of Bulawayo Town Clerk Christopher Dube by former deputy Mayor Tinashe Kambarami and Councillor Silas Chigora.
The probe team is yet to make its findings public.
BPRA coordinator, Emmanuel Ndlovu, said it had submitted to the probe team its own report and were waiting for the outcome.
“We are awaiting for them to finalise investigations and make heads roll. Heads must certainly roll in council,” he noted, claiming the way council was running its affairs was unprogressive for the city.
“This is a reflection of deep-seated endemic poverty of thought,” he told representatives of civic society and residents at a recent meeting.
“You chose councillors to represent you but the councillors you chose have degenerated into a gangster turf war zone. We have gangster factions and the gangsterism taking place there is on another level.”
He said as a BPRA coordinator, he received information on the corrupt dealings taking place with council by some councillors.
“We had gathered evidence and receipts. We didn’t even look for the evidence, some was brought to us and we marvelled that such a thing was happening. We knew someone had to be arrested, so we started writing letters raising issues.
“Some councillors came to us nicodemously, claiming even if we knew they were corrupt, there were others who were more corrupt than them. We said ‘tell us’ and we were seized with that information, coming from all including the mayor himself and this is the same evidence that we submitted to the probe team,” Ndlovu reflected.
The BPRA coordinator noted how privilege can be ‘very’ corruptive, suggesting it was one of the reasons why corruption took place within council.
“What happens when you elect someone who has never been exposed to privilege and overnight is responsible for parcelling out house stands determining who receive and who doesn’t. First day someone tastes privilege there is possibility of them running amok.
“So we have had councillors lining up relatives, political loyalists, doing nepotism or programmes in wards where party people, girlfriends hired at the expense of deserving rate payers,” he claimed.
Ndlovu said such behaviour boiled down to capacity, where elected officials had no record of public service even at community level but were voted due to the party they represented.
“That is the type of mentality deployed during elections hence now people are running amok blaming others,” he reflected.
The BPRA coordinator added that as an association suggested that it was necessary to quantify the community cost of corruption, which was affecting service delivery.
“How much has the city lost through potential revenue? Do you know we have sort of normalised corruption to the extent that we can no longer recognise it. Even at funerals for one to be served rice, they have to know somebody to eat,” Ndlovu lamented.
“It’s important for us to become anti-corruption champions and try to rid this city of this cancer. Corruption has become normalised it’s so ingrained into our day to day existence. Professor Eldred Masunungure (a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe) once said corruption should be the national totem for everyone, so we need to apply ourselves with the greatest amount of resilience in order to restore the lost pride of the city,” he highlighted.
On whether council had received back findings from the Local Government’s city probe team, Cllr Chigora, said no report was received as yet.
“The team came, they investigated and asked us questions, which we responded to. That is what was done but we have not received any report from them. I can’t speak on their behalf but we expect the probe team to be rational and consider all circumstances before it. We know that as a progressive ministry, they would want to also follow suit and put these things aside so we concentrate on service delivery,” he claimed.