Harare residents to fight cash strapped council over luxury cars

masundaHarare residents are set for another fight with the council, following recent reports that it has purchased two more luxury cars for top officials, not including the Mercedes Benz authorised for the Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda (pictured).

Masunda has faced severe criticism for the luxury Mercedes that its understood has cost ratepayers more than US$150 000. According to the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) two more vehicles, to the tune of US$190 000 have been added to councils expenses for directors, despite council officials arguing it is too cash-strapped to resume full services in the city.

The lack of services in Harare are clearly evident: Roads are full of pot holes; street and traffic lights are not working and have not been maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded neighbor in most high density areas.

However, despite the visible failings of the council to restore services, residents have still been faced with letters of final demand and threats of legal action. CHRA has now lashed out at the council over the revelations of the purchases, arguing that the US$353 000 spent on the three cars is enough to procure water treatment chemicals for Harare for almost six months.

CHRA explained in a statement that water availability in the city is unreliable and even non-existent, explaining that some areas have not had water since 2007. At the same time, many areas only receive dirty, untreated water that is a leading cause of disease. The association has since written to the Mayor demanding a meeting over this issue by Thursday, warning of a massive residents protest and a broad based rates boycott.

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