The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has implicated Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba in illegal land deals that have seen housing stands being parceled out on wetlands.
HRT Director, Precious Shumba made the remarks today during a Breakfast Meeting on wetlands management which was organized by the Harare Wetlands Trust and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Shumba said the problem bedeviling Harare City Council is lack of a principled leadership.
He alleged Mayor Gomba was working in cahoots with fellow corrupt councilors.
“We have a super group of councilors that have assigned themselves the responsibility of distributing wetlands. Key pointers have led us to the Mayors’ office and we have sufficient evidence to prove that if we are challenged. If we had a serious Mayor, corruption would have been gone by now. But what do we have? The godfather of corruption is based at Town House.
“There are people moving around looking for clients to buy land and they will link the potential buyers to their handlers at council,” said Sumba.
Shumba bemoaned that corruption at council was so complicated to an extent that some officials and councilors involved in corrupt land allocations are becoming untouchable.
He also alleged that corrupt council officials were working in cahoots with officials at the Ministry of Local Government.
“A combination of corrupt officials at the central and local government level is dangerous thing.
Residents are being excluded as a result of a corrupt governance system yet we are saying that governance requires active citizen participation. When the aspect of citizen participation is not recognized, the citizens are excluded,” said Shumba.
Shumba said politicization of land allocations was rampant in Harare while residents continue to be excluded in key decision making processes.
“Our major problem is a governance system that is largely excluding the people. When people elect councilors they are choosing people who will protect their interest but unfortunately, residents will wake up to find buildings on their vleis and the people there will tell them that we have been authorized to build,” said Shumba.
Gomba was not available for comment but the Harare Mayor is on record claiming to investigate illegal land sales in the capital.
Critics have however cast doubt over his sincerity given the fact that his name continues to be mentioned whenever the issue of illegal land sales comes up.
The HWT has raised the red flag over wetlands destruction in Harare adding that the development is impacting negatively on wetlands management.