According to OpenCouncil Harare, the records of a stands deal involving Gweru City Council and valued at US$1.7 million have vanished. The deal was conducted in 2019. Also, it has come out that some of the councillors who received stands from the council have not made arrangements to pay for them with some not having paid anything by the end of their terms.

Among the critical information that is missing includes basic information such as how many stands were sold, the persons to whom these stands were sold to, the purchase prices these people were supposed to pay for each stand or even the balances owing from these people. That is pretty shocking indeed as it means the council is basically in the dark and doesn’t know what happened.

Corruption is rife in councils

While Zimbabwe’s national government gets a lot of flak for its inability to tackle corruption at high levels choosing instead to distract people with a catch and release show game, councils often escape notice. This is despite the fact that almost every council in this country has been fingered in dirty land and stand deals.

Often it is the Chitungwiza town council that is in the news over issues of corrupt land deals but each urban council in Zimbabwe has had some issues in this area. In most urban cities people have been often sold stands in murky deals only for the council to turn around and claim that the land had not been legally acquired. Heartbreaking videos of people’s newly built houses being razed to the ground have sparked outrage.

Despite all talk of land barons being a menace, no such land baron has faced a reckoning. Instead, we just have ordinary people losing their stands and houses after building. Again just with most things all we get is cheap talk and empty threats from the authorities.

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