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Residents Resist Move
Stephen Chadenga

Gweru residents resist move to turn mayoral mansion into High Court
GWERU residents have vowed to resist proposals to turn the idle mayoral mansion into a High Court building, saying council would not benefit from the move, as the State had gained a reputation of failing to pay its dues.

This year, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), approached council requesting to lease the mayoral mansion for High Court sessions.

The building has been lying idle for the past eight years since the departure of former Gweru mayor, Sesil Zvidzayi. After opening the Masvingo High Court early this year, the JSC indicated that it was planning another permanent High Court in the Midlands capital.

Chairperson of Gweru’s caretaker commission, Tsunga Mhangami, recently said his council was agreeable to the JSC’s request to turn the mansion into a High Court.

But, Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association executive director, David Chikore said residents would oppose the move.

“We say no to the idea of letting out the mayoral mansion to any government department because council will not benefit from the move,” Chikore said.

“Central government is currently struggling to service its bills. Instead, this prime asset can be developed and converted into a conference centre, with wedding and lodge facilities modelled around such prime value players like Pandhari Lodge in Harare.”

The mansion, constructed in the 1990s by then executive mayor, James Bwerazuva, has been lying idle since 2008, when Zvidzai’s term lapsed, culminating in his appointment as Local Government deputy minister.

At one point, council tried to lease out the property for $3 000 per month to any interested tenants, but found no takers.

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