Don’t be fooled, residents warned

A shadowy group reportedly linked to Zanu (PF) is fleecing residents of their hard earned cash under the guise of helping them get rid of debts they owe to Harare City Council.

Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda.
Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda.

The Welfare Trust, operating from Number 130 Main street in Engineering, Highfield, is forcing residents to pay up to $27 in order to have their bills “wiped out”.

But the city says the organization is bogus and residents should not be duped.

Council’s Finance and Budget Committee, Friday Muleya, said the council had not gone into partnership with Welfare Trust.

“The only programme we are likely to have is relief to the poor and even that one has a lot of modalities still to be worked out,” Muleya said.

Harare Residents Trust Director, Precious Shumba, said he knew the organisation and its work was fundraising for President Mugabe’s birthday bash.

“First they were operating from Zanu (PF) offices in Highfield and now they have their own office. But the money being paid to council district offices is not benefiting council. It is kept aside and a security company collects it on behalf of the party.

“What is surprising is that Mayor Masunda and Town Clerk Tendai Mhahachi are aware of this but they are doing nothing about it,” Shumba said.

When confronted Masara said she had invited reporters from the state media instead who would understand their work.

“We will not give you details because we have requested from the President’s office that we have reporters from the state media. They did not pitch up as arranged, but we will wait for them. Our work is known even to the Police Internal Security Intelligence, so we do not need you questioning our integrity,” Masara said.

She said they were not promising anyone a miracle to get rid of their debt.

“Why should anyone expect a miracle of having the thousands they owe council disappear just like that? We are only asking council to accept what people have and move on,” said an agitated Masara.

“Council has been very clear in that residents should approach the city and make arrangements to pay what they owe in instalments,” Muleya said.

City Spokesperson Leslie Gwindi’s phone went unanswered while Police Provincial Spokesperson Inspector James Sabau said he did not deal with issues to do with the President’s office.

Residents interviewed said they did not have a choice but to listen to anyone who seemed able to help them as council had refused to communicate with them.

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