MDC Factions Clash Over Bulawayo Mayoral House

The Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T supports a proposal by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to construct a mayoral house in Selbourne Park for ZWL$25 million (almost US$295 000).

However, the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa believes those funds can be used to improve service delivery.

BCC, dominated by Councillors loyal to Mwonzora, proposed to construct a new house rather than renovate a double-storey council property which had been identified as the mayoral official residence, located in Hornung Golf Club in Burnside.

According to a confidential council report obtained by CITE, the Burnside property is run down and if it was to undergo extensive renovations it would cost the local authority US$146 364.70.

Speaking during an interview with the publication, MDC-T National Spokesperson, Witness Dube said the city mayor deserved proper accommodation, as it was a standard procedure all over the world. Said, Dube:

The mayor is not an executive mayor. This will be a council house and part of council property so given a house to stay in goes with the job. This is standard everywhere in the world.

It was odd that we had a mayor who doesn’t stay in a council house. There is nothing new with him given a house.

Dube argued there was no question of extravagance as far as the mayor’s house is concerned saying, “as in this case if you convert ZWL$25 million it is less than US$300 000.” He added:

If council approves the budget, they should stick to it and finish the construction on time so that costs don’t escalate.

We know ratepayers come first, but it doesn’t mean the mayor getting a house will abdicate his responsibility to them.

MDC Alliance Bulawayo Provincial Spokesperson, Swithern Chirowodza, indicated that the proposal was not discussed with Bulawayo residents during the current financial year budget consultations. He said:

Therefore, this is not provided as an expenditure item. MDC Alliance feels the money can be better spent repairing burst sewer pipes in Old Magwegwe where raw sewer flowed into more than 50 houses four days ago and the opportunity cost of a mayoral mansion is that of stopping that raw sewage.

The incumbent, Councillor Solomon Mguni, currently resides in Nkulumane suburb and Chirowodza pointed out that he would “live far from his voting constituency once the mayoral mansion is completed.”

The provincial spokesperson also declared Cllr Mguni was no longer part of the MDC Alliance. Said Chirowodza:

Mguni has never attended a single meeting since he was elected into office in 2018 despite him being part of the Provincial Executive Committee. Mguni never repudiated statements in which the MDC-T claimed him.

More: CITE

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