Public meetings descend into chaos

Local people have been unable to raise their grievances or make suggestions at consultation meetings because the events were disrupted by political fighting, residents have said.

Newly elected MDC-T mayor Philip Mutoti told The Zimbabwean that his 2014 council budget consultative meetings were disrupted by people wearing Zanu (PF) ceremonial outfits. The latest gathering was interrupted by a rowdy, drum-beating crowd. Earlier, similar crowds interfered with Mutoti’s meetings in Unit L and St Mary’s Hall. In all the cases, hooligans threatened to assault him.

“Disruptions are caused by people identifying themselves with political parties at important non-political public meetings,” said Darlington Musonza, a Zengeza councillor.

“It is unfortunate that some people are manipulating the consultative meetings to further their political agenda,” said Mutoti, who also said he had been receiving threatening phone calls.

“Unidentified people who looked drunk and in Zanu (PF) party regalia streamed into the St Mary’s meeting from a nearby beer hall. They chanted Zanu (PF) slogans in apparent contempt of the MDC-T mayor,” said a resident, Christina Chingaira.

Zanu (PF) disassociated itself from the violence. Spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: “There is no way Zanu (PF) would disrupt meetings meant to benefit the people.”

Chingaira said the sewer system in her area broke down two years ago. She wanted to inform the mayor of her predicament, but failed to do so because of the chaos at the meeting.

But Alice Diana Kuvheya, a board member with the Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust, blamed the council itself. She said residents were not adequately informed about the meetings’ agenda and mistook them for political gatherings.

She suggested that in future such meetings should be held at weekends when residents were not at work.

“Budget consultative meetings are important for residents since they map out the route to proper town management in consultation with the ratepayer,” said Kuvheya.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *