Epworth residents accuse Councillors of Corruption

Epworth Local Board Chairperson Councillor Batanai Masunda
Epworth Local Board Chairperson Councillor Batanai Masunda

HARARE – Residents in Epworth are accusing the Epworth Local Board Chairperson Batanai Masunda and land barons of corruptly selling residential stands without following due process, TSTNews can report.

By Taurai Bvumo

TSTNews in a visit to Ward 6 and 7 were the councillor is running the corrupt scheme discovered that residents who are on the waiting list have not been allocated stands but those not on the waiting waiting list have been allocated stands.

“We have lived here since 1989 before my parents died and we have known it to be our home, and when the regularisation program started we felt this was our time to get a formal stand and we welcomed the move that our stands will be downsized to give room for roads and other facilities”

“Epworth Local Board made us pay the regularisation fee and the surveyor’s fee and we paid it without hesitation and that was in 2016 but of today we have not been allocated a place to stay but already there are six people building their houses on my stand,” said Brian Tongesai a resident of Ward 6.

Tongesai further told TSTNews that Masunda was responsible for the confusion that he and other Epworth Residents are now facing.

“Masunda is at the bottom of this story as he is failing to locate us our houses yet he is selling stands every day for US$5000. What type of a councillor sacrifices the livelihood of the people for his personal wealth,” Said Tongesai.

TSTNews has learnt that before the 2018 election Masunda was a general worker at Epworth Local Board were he used to earn US$420 per month and was living an average lifestyle but since he was voted he leads a flashy lifestyle.

Residents said he now owns more than 12 residential stands with two of them in Epworth’s leafy surbub of Rockview and has also managed to acquire a farm in Domboshava during the time.

Masunda is not the only councillor who has been accused of corruption in Epworth but is believed to be the gang leader.

The Epworth Resident Development Association (ARDA) has always complained about the amount of corruption at the council.

“We have always demanded for a lifestyle audit to the workers and the councillors at the local board but it has not been done since 2014 when the regularisation process began because we knew that privileged people will benefit from the process,” Peter Nyapetwa told TSTnews.

He further said the allocation of stands was never done following due process and said this had given a room to manipulation of the process.

Currently Epworth Residents through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were granted an order barring the council to demolish houses.