Shelton Masina and Hazel Marimbiza
A Bulawayo councillor is at the centre of a nepotism and partisanship storm amid allegations that she is unfairly employing residents for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Magwegwe residents on Monday came out guns blazing vowing not to rest until they strip Councillor Concilia Mlalazi of Ward 18 of her employing powers during a community engagement meeting organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) at Magwegwe Hall.
According to the residents, Mlalazi’s employees were mostly MDC party members, her relatives and friends.
During the meeting several residents openly fumed at Mlalazi for employing her associates and family.
“We are not going back on fighting against corruption and nepotism. She is employing people on partisan lines because the people she employed worked as election agents during her campaign in 2018.
“We are not satisfied because she is biased to her party. She must be fair because she is not a party councillor. Vulnerable people must benefit from this programme, not only her relatives as she employs the same faces every time. The councillor must not be partisan and must treat residents equally especially when employing EPWP employees. She must have people at heart,” said a worried resident, Josphat Ncube.
Youths also expressed concern.
“As the youth we are not happy with Mlalazi. Times are hard and we all deserve fair opportunities when it comes to employment so that we can all make ends meet. Nepotism is not fair at all. The most painful thing is that Mlalazi doesn’t engage with the public in regard to employment of people,” said one Gilbert Manwere.
According to a TIZ official the meeting was held as a follow up on a petition against the councillor by residents.
“It is a follow up on residents’ concerns about the councillor. The councillor must attend such platforms and grasp the grievances of the people from her ward,” said Njabulo Ncube.
B- Metro is in possession of the petition which was signed by 500 Magwegwe residents’ and submitted to the Bulawayo City Council on 2 August 2019 by Transparency International Zimbabwe to rid Mlalazi of her employing privileges.
In the petition Mlalazi is blamed for violating residents’ rights.
“EPWP programme is only benefiting a small group of people at the expense of those who genuinely deserve the temporary employment.
“Ward 18 Residents have alleged nepotism in the recruitment of the residents for EPWP, in accordance with Section 59 of the Constitution which is an empowering provision which enables residents to use their collective voice against poor service delivery. The residents’ petition that the councillor be stripped of her employing powers in EPWP,” read the letter.
When B-Metro contacted Mlalazi for her comment she expressed anger before terminating the call.
“Why do you always trouble me? I’m sick and tired of you people from the media,” she said.