Statement by Bulawayo Youth Council on Government investigation of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC)

The recent reports by the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development on setting up a team to investigate the Bulawayo City Council are generally a welcome move. The team as stated by the Chairperson is mandated to gather information regarding to council’s governance and administration in relation to “alleged corruption tendencies and leasing of shops among other issues”. No doubt, such investigations are an attempt at promoting conducive and accountable governance structures in the country. Also, such investigations if promoted have a potential of promoting transparency to local authorities.

However, of significant concern especially to the Bulawayo Youth Council is the fact that investigations of other cities that have far worse corrupt tendencies have been left untouched. If anything the Ministry has casted a blind eye on corrupt tendencies in other cities and ironically has put more weight in frivolous cases such as those in Bulawayo. Such councils that have been at the height of corruption include Chitungwiza and Harare. In the former case shocking revelations have been noted in which the members of the “revival team” are getting unreasonable salaries yet service provisions have remained diabolic. However, serious investigations have not been commissioned in such cases. Such selectiveness relegates the youth council to have a premonition of the Minister deliberately neglecting investigations on those councils were he has a direct stake in. It is in line with this that the youth council eyes these investigations in Bulawayo with suspicion, and the council has reason to believe that this could be ruse from the Ministry to create a smoke screen of appearing to be flatly working out in promoting transparency.

Moreover, the underlying reason for this investigation has not been defined. The perceived reasons proffered by state papers for these investigations are not convincing. Statements have been proffered regarding public outcry over corrupt tendencies country wide. Such statements are a complete generalisation and do not clearly specify the singling of Bulawayo City Council. Therefore, it becomes mind boggling that the Ministry overnight decides to make investigations to the City.

Therefore Bulawayo Youth Council:

  • Hopes that such investigations do not have underlining machinations, and will not be used to fulfil cheap political goals.
  • Calls for the investigations of all local councils in the country by the investigation team so as to promote accountability as well as ensure that such initiatives gain credibility from the citizens and other organisations.
  • Implores the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development to make its findings known and clear to the general public.
  • Advises the Ministry if there are any reported cases of corruption to swiftly refer them to the Anti-Corruption Commission whose mandate is to investigate elements of corruption in the country.

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