Utsinda Christian College, which had stopped construction work due to inflated payment demands made by Gutu Rural District Council, last week got President Robert Mugabe's green light to continue after Chief Gutu briefed him on the matter.
The council was demanding that the college's founder, University of Zimbabwe Medical School lecturer, Professor Rangarirai Eben Masanganise, pay US$320 000 to council.
Initially council wanted the money to be paid at the rate of $10 000 per month but later revised the payment plan to $5 000 per month for 2016 and $2 000 per month next year.
President Mugabe questioned why the council wanted to be paid so much money for the mountainous land which never appeared on any development plan before the establishment of the college.
He condemned theft and greed in councils and said Gutu was no exception.
"Professor Masanganise's idea is noble. He saw the opportunities in the Utsinda mountains and decided to exploit them. What then is the $320 000 for? We don't want this nonsense.
"The area was underdeveloped – after all the land belongs to the chief. In this regard there should be no payment for development. Construction work should resume immediately and Professor Masanganise must not pay anything to the council," Mugabe said.
Gutu Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer, Alexander Mutembwa, sat passively while President Mugabe berated his councilors. Next to him sat the council's chairman, Nicholas Zambara.
Mugabe said all councils were asking for outrageous payments in return for development and this did not augur well for the future of the country as there could be no development in the absence of roads, schools and hospitals.
"It's not only the Movement for Democratic Change -run councils that are corrupt. Our own people in Zanu-PF are also doing it," he said.
Professor Masanganise intends to put up a school and hospital next to the conference centre which was constructed at Mak Camp in the same area a few years ago.
After Mugabe had left, Masanganise told TellZim News that he would soon be working to complete Utsinda Christian College since he had been given the green light by the highest authority in the country.news