Mutare residents angered by council buying posh cars

Two senior managers and the town clerk of Mutare have dipped into council coffers and treated themselves to three state of the art vehicles worth US$150,000, despite what residents say is the poor service provided by the local authority.

A report by the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper says: “Town clerk Obert Muzawazi, received a Mercedes Benz ML worth US$60 000 while the remainder was shared between the director of Housing and Community Services, Sternard Mapurisa and engineer Donald Nyatoti, who got Toyata Isuzu double cabs each.”

The Combined Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (Comrra) have already threatened to organise protests this week. Chairman Desmond Mwedzi said: “It comes as a surprise that the council can manage to buy these vehicles for the top managers for that kind of money yet service delivery is going down.”

Mwedzi also highlighted the fact that council employees were poorly paid and were not getting their salaries on time. Council workers have also not received their bonuses on time “but the town clerk and his senior managers find it prudent to buy luxury cars using the ratepayers’ money. We will not rest until sanity prevails at council”.

SW Radio Africa spoke to Mutare Mayor Brian James, who had previously called for an audit of council finances before he was suspended by ZANU PF’s Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. James told us the purchase of the vehicles was a “slap in the face for residents and ratepayers of Mutare.”

James said: “When I was there, we set aside just over US$100,000 for top managers to borrow from, to buy vehicles for their own personal use and obviously council use. But these purchases come in the face of that (budget and arrangement) and show the skewed priorities that management obviously have on expenditure.”

Although the town clerk defended the purchases saying they had received authority from the Local Government minister, James told SW Radio Africa: “The minister can give authority, but the bottom line is one has to live within ones resources. Staff is still being paid late and the bulk are still waiting for their 13th cheque.” SW Radio Africa

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