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Bribery, looting and corruption in Zimbabwe

By Rawlings Standgun Magede

The story that appeared in the Herald of a real estate company, River Valley Properties owned by one Mrs Smelly Dube, who is described as a “grateful resettled farmer”, who built a house in Gweru for President Mugabe cannot go without probe.

Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo commissions a house donated to President Mugabe by River Valley Properties chairman Mncedisi Dube and his wife Smelly, who is the company’s chief executive (left), while Midlands Governor Jason Machaya and projects manager Matilda Manhambo look on in Woodland Park, Gweru
Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo commissions a house donated to President Mugabe by River Valley Properties chairman Mncedisi Dube and his wife Smelly, who is the company’s chief executive (left), while Midlands Governor Jason Machaya and projects manager Matilda Manhambo look on in Woodland Park, Gweru

The house is valued at US$50, 000, with a booster pump worth more than US$500,000 dollars with capacity to supply water to more than 4300 households both in Hertfordshire phase 1 and 2 which are currently being owned and developed by River Valley Properties.

The reason for her building the house was to honour and appreciate the president for the land reform programme. The company also gave more than 1000 high and medium density stands to civil servants and offered to provide building materials on a monthly basis payment.

For a company that doesn’t even have the sense to set up a website for its marketing and advertising, or even advertise on zimclassifieds, River Valley real estate must have so much money to splash. Minister Chombo was the guest at the handing over ceremony.

The real estate industry has suffered terribly since the inception of the multicurrency system and this has made it even more difficult to own a property for the common man. Banks that were giving people loans, when the multicurrency started have stopped doing so.

These banks that were giving people loans had preconditions for the loans.

First they wanted a prospective loan applicant to have a certain substantial amount in their account and the property that they wanted was supposed to have deeds. Without deeds, they don’t tolerate you. Of course the loan grants differ depending on your salary.

One startling fact to note is that Hertfordshire phase 1 and 2 are not yet serviced hence there are no title deeds that have been granted as yet so what Mrs Dube has been doing is to approach low income earners such as civil servants to make monthly contributions towards the purchase of stands.

Phase 1 and 2 do not have water and sewer reticulation and yet people have started staying in houses where service in not yet complete.

And now donating a house worth 50,000 with a pump worth over 500,000 to the president when her company has actually defaulted in its promise of fully servicing phase 1 and 2 is day light robbery. With the “blessing” of Minister Chombo she is invincible and there is nothing that the people there can do.

It is not wrong to give or donate houses to the president but in this case Dube is doing so, so as to have the president’s blessing and have immunity from prosecution in milking peoples’ hard earned cash and continue defaulting in her promises.

This is wrong and the responsible authorities, definately not Minister Chombo, should probe into such a scam where many prospective home-seekers have been duped by people who try to buy some treacherous political muscle by bribing their way to the top.

It seems everyone in politics is trying to catch a seat on the gravy train before it goes off its rail. I have a relative who owns a stand in Hertfordshire phase 1 who phoned me after seeing the story that she had donated the house to the president.

He was arguing that Dube should have used the money to finish servicing the stands first before she thinks of even donating a house. Mrs Dube is not fresh to controversy. She is deemed untouchable because of her close connections to the First Lady.

At one point she was sucked in the Kwekwe Gold scam. She is a Gweru politician not a “grateful Gweru farmer” as the Herald reported.

She is a close associate of Midlands Governor Jason Machaya. She once partnered ZANU PF Buhera North MP William Mutomba to form Midkwe Minerals and attempted to grab Kwekwe based Chaka Gold Plant from its Australian owner Lee Jones.

The pledge by Mrs Dube is a fraud disguised as a token of appreciation to thank the president for the land reform. Minister Chombo seems to have ears only for sycomphants.

With the mushrooming of bogus land developers such as Energy Mutodi, the flamboyant musician, who has gone on the prowl fleecing many prospective home seekers of millions of dollars, many innocent people continue to lose their money.

These land developers like Dube and Mutodi demagogically pretend to be advancing the causes of potential home seekers while undermining and betraying them. Many home seekers have to eke out a living from meagre salaries while saving their money with the hope that one day they will purchase a stand.

Many have been arraigned to the courts but justice has not been prevailed because these land developers have the political muscle to make them immune from prosecution. Many dubious schemes in Harare are being run under the pretext of real estate.

For example innocent home seekers have been swindled of their hard earned cash in areas such as Crowhill, Stoneridge, Southlea Park, Snake Park, Belvedere West and Budiriro 5 extension by land developers who purport to be friends with Minister Chombo.

For how long shall this injustice continue?

Why are our courts magnanimous to such thieves? Do the responsible authorities have a chunk in the bounty? Why should cases of fraud be continually swept under the carpet? Why do people continue to loot and rob other people all in the name of patriotism and indigenization?

Why should politicians inflict suffering on the very people they purport to lead by continually stealing from them. Mrs Smelly Dube is a Politician who is stealing from people not just a grateful farmer as the Herald wants everyone to believe.

Rawlings Standgun Magede is a rural political enthusiast who writes from Nkayi Matebeleland North province.rawedge699@gmail.com

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