BULAWAYO – Former Bulawayo mayors and councillors have taken a dig at Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere for “cheap politicking” after he promised to dish out acres of land to Zanu PF youths, ostensibly in a move aimed at easing the accommodation crisis.
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters on Wednesday thronged Umvutshwa Village just outside the city for the ground-breaking ceremony of the first phase of the residential housing scheme for the youths.
Kasukuwere assured the youths that the construction of more than 7 000 houses begins this week with another 150 000 youths expected to benefit from the second phase.
This did not go down well with former councillors who immediately grouped and agreed that what Kasukuwere was doing was unconstitutional.
“We are against what Kasukuwere has done. He is abusing his powers as a minister by bypassing the local authority in the issuing and development of land,” said former Bulawayo mayor Eliot Dube.
Dube said while they may not have any problems with land being distributed to youths, it was the manner in which Kasukuwere was carrying it out that was likely to cause commotion.
“What we are against is for Bulawayo to be used as a political battlefield. If the land distribution is genuine, why then select only Zanu PF youths yet as a minister he should be representing everybody regardless of political affiliation,” he said.
“This makes us have a strong conviction that the minister simply wants to gain cheap political points ahead of the next elections as Zanu PF battles to regain control of the country’s big cities.”
Former deputy mayor Angilacala Ndlovu said it was unfortunate that the minister had the audacity to assure the youth that by this week construction should begin at the site.
“The problem that happens when the government bypasses the local authority is of starting construction on land that is not serviced which is exactly the biggest challenge that the people who were given stands under the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle programme in Cowdray Park are facing even today.
“Here I am talking of the reticulation and sewage system, imagine they are still using Blair toilets right now, there is no order at all,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu accused the minister of having misplaced priorities by first giving the jobless youths stands yet they do not have money to build those houses.
“Here we have a malfunctioning industry where almost every youth is jobless so instead of concentrating on opening factories and industry, Kasukuwere thinks that they will build those houses using bond notes, that’s being myopic,” he said.